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Election Day Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A voter drops off her ballot at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, Ore., on Tuesday. There are no polling stations in Oregon. Instead, voters cast their ballots by mail or by dropping them off at official sites around the state.

The first Tuesday in November is Election Day in the United States. Unlike elections in Canada, where the voting process is essentially uniform from coast to coast, the rules and mechanisms for voting in the United States vary widely from state to state. And, with the controversies of the last two elections, many states have changed the procedures for this election. Some states have implemented computerized voting machines, others have changed the rules for what kinds of ID voters must present. Voters who are denied ballots are allowed to complete provisional ballots, which are counted if the voters eligibility is proven.

Since 1998, voting in Oregon has been conducted by mail. Voting kits are mailed to every registered voter. Once completed, the ballots are sealed inside a secrecy envelope, which in turn is sealed inside the mailing envelope. The voter signs the outer envelope and drops it in the mail or at an official
drop site (no postage necessary that way).

Multnomah County election official Charles Ross collects ballots at Pioneer Courthouse Square on election day. A steady stream of voters deposited their ballots at the site. The polls are open until 8 p.m.