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Election Day is near -- mail in those ballots

Election day is right around the corner. If you haven’t sent in your ballot yet, now would be a good time.

The Oregon Legislature wasn’t clairvoyant when it passed legislation to provide free postage on mail-in ballots starting this year, but it sure comes in handy now, when people sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic can put their ballot in the mail without a stamp.

That doesn’t mean you should procrastinate, however. Oregon law requires all ballots to arrive at the county Elections Department by 8 p.m. on Election Day, May 19. Postmarks do not count, so if you wait too long, your ballot won’t either.

Drop boxes are still available for those who wait, or who prefer to deliver their votes in person. Drop boxes are situated at the Ashland Library, 410 Siskiyou Blvd. (in the alley off Gresham Street by the book drop); at the Phoenix Library, 510 W. First St.; curbside at the Jackson County Elections Department, 1101 W. Main St. in Medford; at the Central Point Library, 116 S. Third St.; at the Rogue River Library, 412 E. Main St.; and at the Eagle Point Library, 239 W. Main St. All drop boxes can be used 24 hours a day, and are open until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

This election has something for everyone, it seems, with a proposed jail service district countywide, a lodging tax increase for a Medford sports and events complex, an Ashland City Hall reconstruction bond as well as a city charter amendment, not to mention a variety of candidates for offices ranging from the U.S. House of Representatives to the Oregon Legislature to county commissioner, county assessor and Circuit Court judge.

Speaking of candidates, visit the Mail Tribunewebsite to see video interviews with a number of candidates. We interviewed them individually in our video studio or remotely via the internet — their choice — and posted the resulting videos online. Candidates for the same position were asked the same list of questions.

Want even more information? The nonpartisan League of Women Voters has a detailed website where you can view and compare candidates. Go to https://www.vote411.org/ballot to get started.

Tuesday’s election is just the beginning — those nominated in partisan races will face off in November, along with the presidential nominees. So dig out those ballots from the pile on the kitchen table, fill them out and send them in. Democracy works best when everyone participates.