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Voters have until Tuesday to register for tax assessor special election

Voters have until Tuesday to make sure they’re registered for a Jackson County special election that will determine whether the tax assessor remains an elected position.

Residents must be registered to vote by the end of the day Tuesday, Oct. 12, if they want to participate in the Nov. 2 special election, according to a press release issued Monday morning from the Jackson County Elections Office.

The upcoming special election is focused on Ballot Measure 15-201, which amends the county charter to make the Jackson County assessor no longer an elected position, according to an online PDF of the Voters’ Pamphlet available from the elections office website. Shady Cove residents will also vote for a city council member in the election.

If approved by voters, the county assessor would be hired and fired by the county administrator — himself a hired staff member who reports to elected Jackson County commissioners.

The ballot measure follows errors under elected Assessor David Arrasmith’s management including his office miscalculating 2020 property taxes for thousands of Almeda fire survivors, according to earlier news reports.

Voters re-elected Arrasmith in 2020 despite two earlier errors in 2018 that impacted more than 91,000 people.

Arguments in favor of the county being in charge of hiring a tax assessor include that the county could require more experience and education for a highly technical job, that the assessor would avoid the distractions of campaigning and that an assessor could be fired for poor performance without voters having to mount a recall effort, according to an earlier news report.

Arguments against the measure and keeping the tax assessor an elected position include that because of the independence of being an elected position, the assessor could potentially face less pressure from the government to maximize tax revenue.

Ballots cannot be forwarded to a new address. Oregon residents can register to vote or update their registration at oregonvotes.gov, or register in person at the Elections office at 1101 W. Main St., Suite 201, in Medford.

Registered voters can also update their address automatically through the DMV when updating their their Oregon driver’s license or identification card.

Election ballots and the printed Voters’ Pamphlets will be mailed out to voters Friday. If a registered voter does not receive a ballot by Oct. 22, they should contact the Elections office at 541-774-6148.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.