The 2014 election campaign is all but over, except for the counting.
Ballots in Oregon’s mail election are due at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Voters are advised to use official drop boxes at sites that will be open until 8 p.m. Postmarks do not count in Oregon elections.
Voters must sign the back of their return envelopes.
Initial returns will be released after 8 p.m. for ballots that were submitted and processed early.
As of Sunday, 39.5 percent of 2.2 million registered voters had returned ballots. That compares to 69 percent in 2002, 71 percent in 2006 and 72 percent in 2010, the three most recent non-presidential elections, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
At the top of the ballot are races for governor, U.S. senator and seven statewide measures.
Independent public opinion surveys have pegged Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber and Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley ahead of their rivals, although news disclosures about Kitzhaber’s fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, may affect the results for governor.
Dennis Richardson, a lawyer and six-term state representative from Southern Oregon, hopes to be the first Republican to win the governorship since Vic Atiyeh was re-elected in 1982.
Kitzhaber is seeking a record fourth nonconsecutive term. He served two terms from 1995 to 2003.
Kitzhaber’s campaign raised $4.13 million, Richardson, $2.78 million, in 2014.
Others on the ballot are Aaron Auer of Aurora, Constitution Party; Paul Grad of Cave Junction, Libertarian Party; Chris Henry of Portland, Progressive Party, and Jason Levin of Portland, Pacific Green Party.
Monica Wehby, a physician from Portland and the first woman nominated by Oregon Republicans for the U.S. Senate, has trailed Merkley in public opinion surveys. She is making her first bid for public office.
Merkley, who unseated Republican Gordon Smith six years ago, raised $9.3 million for the two-year cycle, through Oct. 15; Wehby, $3.6 million.
Others on the ballot are James Leuenberger of Lake Oswego, Constitution Party; Christina Jean Lugo of Oregon City, Pacific Green Party, and Mike Montchalin of Pendleton, Libertarian Party.
The statewide ballot measures are:
Measure 86: Proposed constitutional amendment to create an endowment fund for scholarships for post-secondary education (college and vocational training), and to authorize bond sales to start the fund.
Measure 87: Proposed constitutional amendment to allow judges to teach at public universities and serve in the National Guard.
Measure 88: Referendum on 2013 law allowing Oregon to issue four-year driver’s cards regardless of immigration status; eight-year driver’s licenses, which can be used for federal identification purposes, can be issued only with proof of legal presence in the United States.
Measure 89: Proposed constitutional amendment to write into the Oregon Constitution a guarantee against discrimination based on gender.
Measure 90: Initiative to institute a primary election in which the top two finishers, regardless of party, go on to the general election.
Measure 91: Initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana and designate the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to regulate its cultivation and retail sale.
Measure 92: Initiative to require labeling of food sold in Oregon containing genetically modified organisms.
All five of Oregon’s U.S. House seats are up for election, but the incumbents — four Democrats and a Republican — are expected to win new two-year terms.
Control of the Oregon Senate is at stake. Sixteen of the 30 seats are up — one is for a two-year term — and Democrats now hold 16, Republicans 14. Democrats have 10 seats up Tuesday, Republicans six; incumbents are running in 15 of the 16 districts.
Of the 16 districts, there are three unopposed candidates, all Democrats; in three more districts — two with a Democratic incumbent, and one with a Republican — there are only minor-party opponents.
The current Senate split has been in place the past four years.
In the Oregon House, all 60 seats are up for two-year terms; Democrats now hold 34, Republicans 26. There will be at least 15 new faces.
Of the 60 seats, 39 are contests between candidates from the major parties. Seven Democrats and seven Republicans are unopposed; five more Democrats and two more Republicans face only minor-party opponents.
Democrats ousted four Republican incumbents in 2012 to regain a majority they lost in the House two years earlier.