FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Where can I register to vote?

Whether you are registering in Oregon for the first time or are updating a registration, you need to fill out a voter registration form. Fill out a registration form online or at Benton County Elections at the courthouse, 120 NW 4th Street Room 13, Corvallis. Hours are Mon-Fri 8 am to 5 pm. Phone: (541)766-6756; Email: bcelections@co.benton.or.us.

What’s the best way to contact elected officials?

You’ll find links to elected officials on the Elected Dems link on the menu bar.

You will have the most impact if you call, fax, or write (handwritten letters are best). Every office holder tracks messages from constituents – those in the office holder’s district or state. Indicate clearly what issue or bill you are talking about and what position you take(e.g., “Pass Oregon SB 1000, granting civil unions and banning discrimination”).

Call or fax: For officials in Congress, call either their Washington DC office or regional Oregon office. Faxes can be typed letters or brief, legible notes; include your return address.

Postal mail: For members of Congress, send mail to a regional office (e.g., the Eugene office of Senators Wyden and Smith). Mail sent to Washington DC is quarantined for months and ends up arriving very late and bedraggled.

Email: Email messages receive varying amounts of attention, according to the processes set up by the official. E.g., US Rep. DeFazio assures constituents that each email is read and counted. Email petitions that you might sign on to can get some attention for the organization gathering them (e.g., if MoveOn.org can say it gathered a million signatures) and can get some notice for the issue. However, on issues you care about, make sure your representative also hears from you directly.

What are precincts?

Precincts (or wards) is the smallest geographical division for elections. Each voter’s address is assigned to a precinct. (Precinct maps for Benton County are athttp://www.co.benton.or.us/elections/maps.htm.)

There are elections at the precinct level. For example, one Corvallis City Council member is elected to represent each precinct.

For all other elections, returns from the precincts are aggregated. For example, all precincts within Benton County are aggregated to count votes for Benton County Commissioners. All precincts within a particular district are aggregated for U.S. or Oregon representatives or senators. All precincts within Oregon are aggregated to count votes for statewide offices in Oregon, such as governor.

Election results are published per precinct. For example, to see the number of people who voted in your precinct and what percentage voted for which candidates, go tohttp://www.co.benton.or.us/elections/. (You can also find a goldmine of election information at this link.)

How do I find out what precinct am I in?

To locate your precinct, go to the precinct map athttp://www.co.benton.or.us/elections/maps.htm. Select Corvallis or Philomath area to see street names.

Are my donations tax deductible?

Donations to a political party, political PAC, or politician running for office qualify for The Oregon Political Tax Credit Your political donation (up to $50 for an individual and up to $100 for a married couple) is eligible each year for this credit. A “tax credit” is not tax deduction like contributions to a charity; it is a dollar-for-dollar credit. In other words, if your total Oregon state taxes for 2004 were $500 and you made a political contribution to a qualified political committee of $100, you would only pay $400 in taxes.

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