Two weeks after a record number of Oregonians voted in the state’s May primary election, the Oregon secretary of state shared data Wednesday on voter turnout and the state’s pioneering Oregon Motor Voter program. “I am encouraged to see these new ‘motor voters,’ many of whom may have never voted before, engage in the democratic process,” said Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins. “We have received positive feedback from many Oregonians and continue to hear praise from national civic organizations and other states that are looking to Oregon as a model for democratic engagement.” According to the most recent analysis by the state Elections Division, 8,135 votes were cast by Oregonians who were registered through the Oregon Motor Voter program. With 43,571 eligible OMV voters, this means 18.7 percent of the OMV-registered voters who were eligible to vote on May 17th (registered by April 26th) participated in the primary election. Read the full report here.
“It’s important to keep in mind that the population of voters registered through Oregon Motor Voter made up about 2 percent of the electorate in the recent primary election,” said Atkins. “This is a very small number in an election that saw the largest number of primary voters in Oregon’s history.
“We have made some interesting observations on this population, but these numbers are only the first glimpse of how Oregon Motor Voter might result in more participation. We look forward to doing more analysis after the November General Election and in the years ahead.”
Overall, voters who chose to register with a political party voted at higher rates than did nonaffiliated voters, and this pattern existed both for those registered through the Oregon Motor Voter program and those registered through other means. That pattern is generally consistent with historical trends for primary elections.