April 8, 2020 — The 2020 election cycle began in earnest April 3, when Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno began mailing ballots to voters for the May 19 Primary Election.
Oregon has voted by mail since 2000, so unlike other states which have been forced to move primaries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, voting will take place as scheduled.
The first to receive ballots will be military personnel and other voters that are currently out-of-country. Out-of-state ballots will be mailed April 20, and all other ballots will be mailed to voters April 30 — which is also the date official ballot drop sites will open.
There are a number of races Florence area residents will be eligible to vote in which have national and regional implications, including presidential primaries for both the Democratic and Republican candidates for president, U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Nationally, Sen. Jeff Merkley is seeking re-election, as is Oregon's 4th District Rep. Peter DeFazio.
Merkley is the ranking member on the Sub-Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development and serves on the Foreign Relations and Budget Committees. He previously served in the Oregon House of Representatives, representing District 47 from 1999 to 2009.
DeFazio was first elected in 1986 and is the longest-serving representative in Oregon history. In 2019, DeFazio was elected to the position of Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Coast Guard, highways and transit, water resources, railroads, aviation and economic development.
There will be a new representative for Oregon's Ninth District as Caddie McKeown, serving in the position since 2013, has decided not to seek re-election.
The Democratic Presidential Primary changed dramatically Wednesday with the announcement of candidate Bernie Sanders' decision to leave the race. The move puts Joe Biden to face an unopposed President Donald Trump in the fall. The Democratic primary will award 61 pledged and 14 Super delegates with a 15 percent threshold and are awarded proportionally.
The Republican Presidential Primary awards 28 delegates and is uncontested.
In Lane County, incumbent Clifton G. Harrold is running unopposed for Lane County Sheriff and the only measure which voters must consider in May is Measure 20-306. This measure is a Lane Community College Bond request for $121 million, to construct and improve facilities and address safety and technology needs.
May 19th Primary Election
Donald Trump (R) – Incumbent
Joe Biden (D)
Jeff Merkley (D) – incumbent, no opposition
Paul Romero (R)
Robert Schwartz (R)
John Verbeek (R)
U.S. House of Representatives
Peter Defazio (D) – incumbent
Nelson Ijih (R)
Doyle Canning (D)
Alek Skarlatos (R)
Oregon Secretary of State
Shemia Fagen (D)
Jamie McLeod-Skinner (D)
Kim Thatcher (R)
Mark Haas (D)
Dave Stauffer (R)
Ellen Rosenblum – incumbent
Michael Cross (R)
Tobias Read (D) – incumbent
Jeff Gudman (R)
Oregon Supreme Court
Thomas Balmer – incumbent
Chris Garrett – incumbent, no opposition
Martha L. Walters – incumbent, no opposition
Oregon Court of Appeals
Josephine H. Mooney – incumbent, no opposition
Jacqueline Kamins – no opposition
Joel S. DeVore – incumbent
Erin C. Lagesen – incumbent, no opposition
Douglas L. Tookey – incumbent, no opposition
Oregon House of Representatives
Mark Day (D)
Cal Mukumoto (D)
Boomer Wright (R)
To register to vote in Oregon, one must be a resident of Oregon, a United States citizen, and at least 16 years old. Voters must be at least 18 years old by the day of the election in order to receive a ballot. Prospective voters can register online or in person at a county elections office, or by mailing in a voter registration form.
The deadline to register is 21 days before an election, or April 28.