Early returns have deluged Clackamas County’s Elections Office in the weeks prior to the Tuesday, Nov. 6, general election. Ballot returns were higher last week compared to the same time frame in 2008, a year of record turnout.

By the end of Saturday, Oct. 27, the elections office had received 52,658 ballots from the 228,310 people registered to vote in Clackamas County, a 23 percent early return rate. The same number of days before the election in 2008, only 40,460 ballots had been received.

Elections officials in Clackamas County predict that overall returns will be about the 85.21 percent they enjoyed in 2008.

“We think this (year’s higher early return rate) is caused by the fact we were able to get ballots out a couple days earlier than in 2008 (most ballots were received by Saturday the 20th this year, and not until the equivalent of Tuesday the 23rd in 2008),” said Steve Kindred, the county’s election manager.

Special urban-renewal measures on the ballots for voters in Oregon City and Gladstone have not so far increased those cities’ early return rates. Only 20.6 percent of Oregon City voters had turned in their ballots by Saturday, compared with 22.2 percent for Gladstone and 22.5 percent for Milwaukie.

Neither Sandy nor Molalla voters, at 21 and 19.8 percent early return rates respectfully, seem to be especially inspired so far by annexation measures on their ballots.

Small cities, such as Barlow with 27.3 percent, Rivergrove with 29.2 percent and Johnson City with 36 percent, have the highest early return rates so far. Lake Oswego and Wilsonville also lead the pack at 25.8 percent of their ballots returned so far.

Ballots are due at 8 p.m. on Nov. 6. If you haven’t mailed yours early, check for official drop-off spots.

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