Ballot drop boxes at the Malheur County Courthouse in Vale, and in Ontario, Nyssa and Jordan Valley will serve as collection points for ballots for the May 18 election. The drop box at the Malheur County Courthouse has been moved to the rear parking lot. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

VALE – For the first time in a while, the off-year election on May 18 will showcase more contested races that run the gamut from the Treasure Valley College Board to the Jordan Valley School Board.

There are 20 contested races on the ballot and 56 incumbents seeking re-election without challenge. In all 76 seats are up for a vote, according to the Malheur County Clerk’s Office.

There are contested races on the Treasure Valley Community College Board, the Jordan Valley, Ontario, Nyssa, Annex and Adrian school boards, the Ontario Library District, the Dell Brogan and Jordan Valley Cemetery Districts and the Juntura Rural Road, the Malheur Education Services District Board 9.

 Military absentee voter ballots are already in the mail while out-of-state absentee ballots were shipped last week as Malheur County gears up for the election.

Local ballots for the election will be mailed between April 28 and May 5, according to the Malheur County Clerk Gayle Trotter.

Voters must return ballots no later than 8 p.m. May 18. That means ballots must be in the mail no later than Tuesday, May 11.

Voters can also use official drop boxes at specific locations in the county until 8 p.m. election night.

There are 17,052 registered voters in Malheur County, according to the clerk’s office, up from 16,727 registered voters recorded during the November 2020 election. More than 7,300 of them are unaffiliated. The high number of unaffiliated voters can be traced to Oregon’s “motor-voter” law, said Trotter.

Under the 2015 law, Oregonians are automatically registered to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or state identification card. After that, the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles sends a card to a voter that allows them to choose a party if they wish. If a voter does not choose a political party, the DMV they are automatically registered as non-affiliated.

SAFEGUARD YOUR LOCAL NEWS

Take one action today to help the Enterprise grow and do more for the community through accurate, fair reporting.

SUBSCRIBE: A monthly digital subscription is $5 a month.

GIFT: Give someone you know a subscription.

ONE-TIME PAYMENT: Contribute, knowing your support goes towards more local journalism you can trust.