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Last-minute surge boosts ballot total

The last-minute scramble to turn in election ballots before the 8 p.m. deadline is on.

Shortly after 9:30 this morning, nearly 55 percent of Jackson County voters had turned in ballots, up from just over 51 percent Monday night.

"We think we are still on track track to hit the 70 percent prediction," County Clerk Chris Walker said. "If anything, we'll be within few percentage points."

By comparison, the 2012 presidential election pulled in 81 percent of registered voters in Jackson County.

As of 9:32 a.m., 61.8 percent of Democratic voters (23,916 of 38,711) had turned in ballots. Republican turnout was 59.9 percent (26,454 of 44,135). Others with party affiliations, including Independent, had turned in 39.9 percent (11,215 of 28,139) of their ballots, while 47 percent (5,029 of 10,699) of unaffiliated voters had turned in ballots.

"It will be nonstop all day with updates every half hour to 45 minutes," Walker said.

Until the weekend, most of the ballots arrived by mail, she said. Now 90 percent go to drop boxes.

Although most ballots now are picked up from drop boxes, Walker said she will make a final trip to the local postal processing office tonight to pick up late-arriving ballots.

"We try to get everyone, even those that come in the last minute," Walker said. "There are sweeps by all the counties with postal processing facilities."

Statewide GMO labeling and marijuana measures created a larger response in some areas. 

Among the heaviest voting in terms of percent of registered voters casting ballots came in Ashland precincts No. 2 (nearly 64 percent), No. 4 (62 percent) and No. 7 (56 percent).

Precinct No. 10, taking in Southern Oregon University,  however, has seen just 107 ballots cast out of 501 registered voters.

In Medford, precincts 40, 42, 46, 47 and 48 all saw returns of 60 percent or more.

— Greg Stiles