Drop Off Ballots Rather Than Mail; New Deputies Coming; COVID-19 Case Count; State of Emergency Extended

Drop Off Ballots Rather Than Mail

Election Day is just around the corner, with less than a week to go Lane County Clerk Cheryl Betschart says if you want your ballot to be counted it is probably best not to put it in the mail.  Even though there is still technically time to get it in and posted, it is best to utilize the drop off box in Florence.  The issue is that there are many more people submitting ballots this year as opposed to previous years and it may take more time for the United States Postal Service to process and deliver ballots, and postmarks do not qualify ballots.  Betshcart reminds voters to make sure that the envelope containing your ballot is signed in accordance to your most recent voter registration, that name will appear on the back of the envelope.  Register voters who have not yet received a ballot or has an issue with a ballot will be able to access the Lane County Elections office.  The office will only be open this Friday, Monday and Election due to COVID-19 protocols.  The office will have a limited amount of masks available for those who come without one.

New Deputies Coming

Western Lane County will be getting some added support from the Lane County Sheriff’s office.  The Lane County Board of Commissioners approved unanimously 4 new full time equivelant deputy sheriff positions, 2 of which will serve this region.  Previously there were 25 deputies that were assigned to the entire county covering 4600 square miles and that coverage was spread out over 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.  The funding for the new positions is a limited fund and is only available for the next 5 years before it has to be revisited.  Areas outside of the Florence city limits have had to deal with limited response to emergencies and crime that require law enforcement intervention due in part to jurisdiction restrictions and deputy availability.  There are currently 2 Oregon State Police troopers assigned to the Florence area but their coverage includes most of western Lane County as well.

COVID-19 Case Count

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Lane County.  Currently the county numbers are averaging around 30 new cases daily with 31 being added to yesterday’s report.  Florence has seen a small share of the numbers and has been at 31 for about a week now.  There was no report of any clusters associated with last week’s additions.  There are currently 175 individuals considered infectious in the county and the number of hospitalized individuals has dropped to 12 from yesterday’s count of 15.  The state also does not seem to show a slow down in new cases with 391 added and 9 new deaths, bringing that total to 664 and total cases to 42,808.

State of Emergency Extended

Governor Kate Brown extended the state of emergency order through the end of the year, in part to ensure that Oregon is available for federal funds to help combat the virus.  Brown says her goal is still to get schools open for in-person instruction, keep businesses open and safe and protect the economy of Oregon.  On Friday the state set a one day record with 550 new cases.  The current state of emergency will last until January 2, 2021.