Ballot count lower than expected

Hood River County Elections Supervisor Lee Schissler said voter turnout for Tuesday’s General Election is much lower than expected so far.

As of press time on Friday, the Records and Assessment Office had received only 33 percent of the 10,478 ballots sent out to registered voters on Oct. 18.

“I thought people would have more ballots in by now, this is an indicator that there might be a pretty low turnout even with the governor’s race,” Schissler said.

He said state analysts had predicted a return rate for mail ballots of about 80 percent, especially with the heated gubernatorial race between Republican Kevin Mannix and Democrat Ted Kulongoski and contested federal races.

A media blitz is underway in the senatorial campaign between incumbent Republican Gordon Smith and Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, a Democrat.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who makes his home in Hood River, is also facing a challenge for the Second Congressional District office by Democrat Peter Buckley.

Hood River County voters are also making choices for representation in two state offices. Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett, has been challenged in her re-election bid for House District 52 by Democrat Larry Cramblett of Cascade Locks. Republican Bob Montgomery, also of Cascade Locks, is seeking the District 26 seat currently held by Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Welches.

Schissler said all ballots must be returned to the courthouse by 8 p.m. on Tuesday; postmarks do not count, and a convenient drop box is available just inside the vestibule of the lower entrance. A drop box is also located at Cascade Locks City Hall.

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