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Voting Center Express is in the lobby of the Multnomah County East Building, 600 N.E. Eighth St.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Gresham's Ricki Ruiz is excited about the new Express Voting Center at the Multnomah County East Building. When Ricki Ruiz was growing up in Rockwood, the Multnomah County East Building was his go-to place for getting his teeth cleaned by a dentist, or for vaccinations.

Soon, the building will also be where he can access information about voting and elections.

"When I heard there would be a voting center here I was ecstatic," Ruiz said.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann christened the new voting center Monday, Jan. 8. Monday morning, Jan. 8, the new Voting Center Express was unveiled in the corner lobby of the Multnomah County East Building, 600 N.E. Eighth St. The center is part of Multnomah County Election Division's efforts to expand access to county services for the more than 165,000 voters who live east of Interstate 205. Those voters are more likely to have moved recently, be a new or naturalized U.S. citizen and speak English as a second language.

"The first time I ever voted was last year, and it felt like I had a voice," said Ruiz, who is also a Reynolds School District Board member. "I voted because I got help from the voting center and the people who worked there."

Formerly, people who needed help might have a 30-minute commute, a prohibitive distance for those looking to become more civic-minded, to the nearest center in inner Southeast Portland.

At the new location, people can replace a lost or damaged ballot or update their voter registration information. There will also be assistance available for those with a disability or for those who speak a language other than English.

"We are working to remove barriers to all voters," said Tim Scott, Multnomah County elections director.

The voting center will open 15 days prior to each election, including from now through Jan. 23 for the special election.

"This represents our commitment to open and fair elections," said Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann.

For more information on the voting center, call 503-988-3720 or visit www.mcelections.org.

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