The special district election is Tuesday with a number of races that will be of interest to folks around Central Oregon, including school board elections.
Since it’s not a presidential or gubernatorial year, turnout is expected to be lower.
“In this local election, because of the lower turnout, your vote will have a greater impact,” said Deschutes County Clerk Steve Dennison.
Experts say the results of special district elections can have immediate effects.
“Those people elected to those positions make some very important positions that impact the citizens out there on a more day to day basis,” said OSU-Cascades political science professor Judy Stiegler.
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“We’re voting for district directors for local districts such as the library, community college, fire, school boards, water, sanitary, park and rec,” said Dennison.
Leading the way for voter turnout as of Monday is Crook County at 29% — doubling its turnout from the last special district election in 2021.
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Deschutes County has a 21% voter turnout.
“This election, we tend to have right around 30% and we’re less than that now. But again having a couple of days here for voters to turn out hopefully boosts that up,” said Dennison.
Jefferson County is close to 15%.
Stiegler says not voting gives smaller, partisan groups more power.
“What you’re effectively doing by not participating in these elections is you’re handing the elections over to to those small groups of people. I don’t care what side of the fence politically you’re talking about, but to small groups of people,” said Stiegler.
Ballot drop-off boxes close at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday. The initial results will be posted shortly after voting closes.