As the midterm elections enter their final days, Umatilla County is lagging behind the rest of the state when it comes to returning ballots.
According to the Umatilla County Elections Division, only 19.6 percent of 43,559 eligible voters have turned in a ballot through Monday.
That’s below the state’s 21.6 percent turnout rate, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office. Umatilla County is tied for the second worst turnout rate in Oregon, besting only Washington County in terms of percentage.
The county is also lagging behind its turnout rate from the 2016 general election. At the same point in the 2016 early voting period, 32.1 percent of Umatilla County voters had already cast their ballots.
Although turnout can vary significantly from day to day and presidential elections traditionally draw in more voters, recent history suggests that Umatilla County will have a tough time climbing out of the cellar.
In the last three midterm elections in 2014, 2010, and 2006, Umatilla County has had the worst turnout rate of all 36 Oregon counties.
Umatilla County’s neighbor to the west, Morrow County, is faring better with a middle-of-the-pack 22.7 percent turnout rate.