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Mail-in votes get a mixed review

Portlanders respond to the question: Has vote-by-mail been a good system for Oregon voters? Oregon has been exclusively a vote-by-mail state since 2000.

Paddy Tillett, an architect who lives in Northwest Portland: 'With so many complex measures to vote on, it takes me half a day and a table piled with reference materials to complete my ballot paper. Vote-by-mail or an Internet-based equivalent will remain essential as long as we have multiple-issue ballots.'

Rachel Gerber, a legal secretary in Portland who lives in Beaverton: 'No. While convenient and economical, the jury is still out on whether it increases participation.ÊMore importantly, it's diminished the sense of community accompanying poll voting, and I sorely miss that option.ÊI would not recommend it to other states.'Ê

Richard Ellmyer, a computer consultant and neighborhood activist from North Portland: 'OK, so Oregon can't figure out how to fund schools, but we did get the bottle bill, death with dignity and vote-by-mail right. Although New Jersey, Iraq and 'Doonesbury' may not be ready to follow our leadership, Oregon can be very proud of stamping its votes.'

Harvey Fink, a downtown Portland business consultant from Vancouver, Wash. (Washington uses both vote-by-mail and poll voting): 'No, it should only be used by those who are sick or are out of town. Not every vote remains secret and can be influenced by another party and is not cast on the same day. I believe it leads to voting fraud.'

Suzi Helmlinger, a downtown business owner who lives in Southeast Portland: 'I think the vote-by-mail system is wonderful. We have the leisure to complete the ballot without worrying about traffic and lines at a polling booth. All these positives for the cost of a postage stamp. My only concern is validation of signatures. Has any report shown fraudulent activity related to this issue?'

Leah Lively, an attorney who lives in Southeast Portland: 'Vote-by-mail is great, and I haven't missed a mail-in election yet. You can vote on your own schedule and in the privacy of your own home.'

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