Midterm election turnout surges as ballots arrive 'nonstop'

With libraries, Extension Service and GMOs on ballot, plus local races, county clerk says participation could reach 60 percent

A flurry of ballots is expected to come into the Jackson County Elections Office today as the 8 p.m. voting deadline looms.

Voter returns eclipsed 37 percent Monday afternoon, already besting the local turnout from the past two midterm primary elections, Jackson County Clerk Chris Walker says.

Typically, about half the ballots collected by elections officials in a typical mail-in election are turned in the final four days, Walker says.

"The ballots are coming in nonstop, and I expect that (Tuesday)," Walker says. "I think they will end up with a 55 to 60 percent (turnout). That's definitely reachable."

Voters will decide whether to create a taxing district for libraries and the Extension Service; whether to ban genetically modified crops in Jackson County; and whether to pass a levy for the Rogue River Fire District No. 1. They also will choose a sheriff, two county commissioners, a Circuit Court judge and a host of other state races.

Ballots must be dropped off at collection boxes available outside the libraries of Ashland, Eagle Point, Central Point and Rogue River and outside the county Elections Office at 1101 W. Main St., Medford.

The last time more than half of Jackson County's ballots were collected in a primary election was in 2008, when the final voter turnout tallied 54 percent, Walker says.

That race included no incumbent in either the Democratic or Republican presidential primary, she says.

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