Official Ballot Drop Sites

Fossil--701 Adams Street outside the courthouse

Fossil--701 Adams Street, Suite 204 in the Clerk's Office

Spray--807 Winlock Street outside the Spray Grange

Mitchell--202 SE High St outside the EMS Building

Spray box.jpg
Mitchell Box.jpg

Elections History timeline -


*In 1789, The Constitution of the United States granted the individual states with the power to set voting requirements. This right was limited to property owning or tax paying white males. This gave approximately 6% of the population the right to vote.


*The 1828 presidential election was the first in which non-property-owning white males were allowed to vote


*In 1902 Oregon amended its Constitution to include the initiative and referendum process


*An initiative places an issue before the voters and may either amend the Constitution, or revise or add an Oregon Revised Statute


            *A referendum may undo a bill passed by the Oregon Legislative Assembly


*In 1912 Oregon became the seventh US State to allow women to vote – so for 123 years, only white men had the right to vote in Oregon


*In 1914 women became eligible to run for office in the state legislator; within a year, women had won seats in both houses


*In 1981 the vote by mail system was approved for local elections in Oregon


*The VBM system was made permanent for the majority of counties for local special district elections in 1987


*VBM was used for the first statewide special election in 1993


Through Measure 60 in the General Election of November 3, 1998, Oregon voters, by an overwhelming approval rate of 757,204 to 334,021 voted to expand VBM to primary and general elections


Primary Elections are held on the third Tuesday of May in even numbered years. This election is the process by which registered voters can indicate their preference for their party’s candidate


Parties in the United States include Americans Elect, Constitution, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Progressive, Pacific Green, Libertarian, and Working Families. A registered voter may also choose to not be a member of a party – Non-Affiliated


During the primary election registered voters with correct mailing addresses will receive a ballot that only lists the candidates for the party they have registered for.


The winning candidates from each party then move to the General Election ballot. Registered voters will receive a ballot containing all winning candidates from each party.


General Elections occur on the first Tuesday of November of even numbered years. Regardless of the party a voter is registered with, he/she is able to vote outside of their party if they choose during the General Election.


Other election types are special district elections and recall elections.


Citizens can register to vote at a county government office, through drivers’ license registration, disability centers, schools, libraries, online, or by completing a mail-in registration card


To register to vote in Oregon you must be

            *A US Citizen

            * A resident of Oregon and

            * At least 16 years old – Although a ballot will not be issued until an election occurs on or         after the 18th Birthday


When a voter registers, a notification card is mailed to the address provided. This confirms the voters’ party affiliation, residence address and mailing address. Your residence address determines which precinct you are eligible to vote in.


Wheeler County is split into three precincts – Fossil, Spray, and Mitchell and each precinct is split into rural and city proper, or political party, depending on the election the ballots are being created for.


Voted ballots may be returned, postage free, through the postal service, by hand at the Clerk’s counter, or in one of the three Official Ballot Drop boxes located in the three cities of Wheeler County. The ballot return envelopes are not opened until election night.

The Official Ballot Counting Board meets in the Circuit Courtroom on election night. The Counting board consists of an even number of voters from the Republican, Democrat and Non-Affiliated parties. The board receives training prior to election night, at which time they review the steps of the counting process and look over the equipment that is used.


On Election Night, the board counts the total number of ballot return envelopes received for each precinct. This number is verified against the number the Elections Officer provides from the Oregon Centralized Voter Registration program. All ballot return envelopes are scanned into this system and signatures are verified as they are received.


Once the total of all envelopes for the precincts are verified, the board begins the opening process.

*The board members are split into groups of two with different party affiliations

*One member runs the return envelopes through an electronic opening machine

*The next member removes the secrecy envelope from the return envelope and hands the ballot to the next member

*The ballots are handed to the other members to begin the inspection process

It is the duty of each board member to inspect every ballot to ensure it will be read by the tabulator machine. Common errors voters make on ballots are:

           Trying to erase or use whiteout on a vote and leaving behind marks that will be misread by the              tabulation machine

            Voting both yes and no – this counts as an over vote

            Circling or putting a line through their vote instead of filling in the circle next to their choice

            Writing in a fake name like Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse

            Writing in a name that is already on the ballot


The Board Supervisor will then run the ballots through the tabulation machine until all ballots are accounted for. The number of ballots processed must match the precinct totals previously verified.


At the end of the night, the Elections Officer will run total voted reports from the tabulation machine. These numbers are entered into the Secretary of State Election Night Results website and in the Oregon Centralized Voters Registration system.  Results are also posted on our website, on our Facebook page, outside the Clerk’s office and at the post office.


Other duties of the Elections Officer include preparing final tabulation reports for the Secretary of State, creating certificates of election for local winners of office, swearing in elected officials, and answering citizen questions regarding ballots and voting rights.