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Deschutes County Clerk’s Office ramping up for first election under new Clerk Steve Dennison

(Update: Adding video, comment from Deschutes County clerk)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With just one day until the primary election, things are starting to ramp up at the Deschutes County Clerk’s Office.

But Tuesday will be the real busy day for Steve Dennison.

“On Election Day, our office will be open at 7 a.m.,” Dennison told NewsChannel 21 on Monday. “We'll all be here until the ballots are counted later in the evening.”

Dennison is overseeing his first election since replacing long-time clerk Nancy Blankenship last July.

On Monday, he and his team were sorting ballots to prepare them for counting on Election Day.

“That will allow us to check and validate the signatures on each piece of mail from our computers,” Dennison said.

Dennison is no stranger to overseeing an election, having served as the county election supervisor for four years, but there are some changes this year to voting in the county and across the state.

Most notably, ballots sent in the mail and postmarked on Election Day may now be counted.

“As long as we receive that ballot up to seven days after Election Day and it has that postmark on it, we'll be able to count that ballot,” Dennison said.

And there’s also no more secrecy sleeve in Deschutes County, which was included in the mailing, but optional to use for ballot returns previously.

Dennison said the number of people utilizing the sleeve had declined over the years, and the ballot envelope features a security weave on the inside to protect privacy.

On Monday, county workers were bringing in mailed ballots and one collected from drop boxes for sorting, and they will continue until Tuesday night.

“Our drop boxes are going to lock sharply at 8 p.m.,” Dennison said. “We have people that will be there with a key in hand.”

From there, Deschutes County sheriff's deputies will help round up the last batch of ballots.

Counting will begin in a secure room in the clerk’s office Tuesday afternoon, when the people staffing the election boards arrive.

More information on the election, including drop box locations, can be found at:

Article Topic Follows: Election
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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.


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