The Oregon Secretary of State’s office is investigating the hold-up at the Portland office of the U.S. Postal Service that delayed delivery of Benton County election ballots.

Oregon has an all-mail election system, and ballots for the Nov. 2 election had been promised to voters by Saturday, Oct. 16. However, according to Benton County Clerk James Morales and Elections Supervisor Jill Van Buren, voters in Benton, Polk, Marion, Multnomah and Clackamas counties all had delays in receiving their ballots because of a miscommunication or a mistake that prompted some Portland postal officials to believe that they had until Tuesday to send along those ballots.

Most people had received their ballots by Monday, but it was elections officials themselves who, upon not receiving their ballots, began to make inquiries. Then, the phone calls came from voters.

Van Buren said the mistake is not characteristic of past performance, and the post office even specially tags all ballots with a bright green tag so that those parcels have delivery priority.

She suggested that cutbacks in personnel and service might be at fault.

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