SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Senate passed House Bill 3291 Thursday, which would allow all ballots postmarked by Election Day to be accepted and counted if received within seven days of an election. Currently, mailed ballots must arrive by Election Day to be counted.
Seventeen other states, including Washington, as well as the District of Columbia accept mailed ballots postmarked by Election Day. The change in Oregon would eliminate the sometimes-confusing deadlines for voters of when they can safely mail their ballot.
“House Bill 3291 will give voters with mobility issues, who lack transportation, who live in rural locations, or have exceptional responsibilities and busy lives are granted all opportunities to cast their ballot and participate in democracy," said Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) in a written statement.
If the postmark on a mailed ballot is missing or not legible, elections officials will consider the ballot mailed on Election Day and it will be counted, as long as it is received within seven days of the election.
The bill does not change the 8 p.m. Election Day deadline to return ballots directly to a ballot drop box.
The bill passed on a vote of 16-13. The bill now heads to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature.