DeFazio, Oregon Delegation Urge Oregon Secretary of State to Immediately Develop Plans for Displaced Oregonians to Receive Mail-In Ballots

WASHINGTON—Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4) today led Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, along with  Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Greg Walden (OR-02) and Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) in urging Oregon Secretary of State Beverly Clarno to immediately develop and roll out plans for displaced Oregonians to receive and return their mail-in ballots for the 2020 election.

The lawmakers write, “The devastating wildfires burning in our congressional districts and across Oregon have destroyed the homes of hundreds, if not thousands, of Oregonians and many more have been displaced. We have heard directly from constituents who are concerned that they and others who have been displaced may not be able to receive and return their ballots on time… Our system, which has ensured safe, secure elections and increased voter turnout, is even more essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. We must ensure that these devastating wildfires do not threaten the ability of Oregonians to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”

The 2020 Oregon wildfires, which have already burned more than one million acres and destroyed hundreds of homes, businesses, and other buildings, have caused approximately 40,000 people to evacuate. 

Oregon has successfully administered a safe, secure, and effective universal mail-in ballot system for its elections for the past twenty years. Ballots will be mailed to registered voters as soon as October 14, 2020.

In the letter, the lawmakers urge Secretary Clarno to publicize contingency plans, expand flexibility, and enhance coordination with the United States Postal Service to ensure displaced Oregonians can still receive and return their ballots on time and without undue burden.

For a PDF version of the letter, click here.