House Majority Leader Val Hoyle wants to figure out how to give the growing number of non-affiliated voters a voice in the state’s partisan primaries. The Eugene Democrat said it’s an issue that is gaining urgency. The percentage of voters who don’t register by party has more than doubled since 1990, with 24.5 percent now registered as non-affiliated. In addition, under Oregon’s new motor voter law – which automatically registers people using driver’s license data – the number of unaffiliated voters is expected to rapidly climb in the next several years.
With the new system, voters will be notified by mail that they have been registered and will be given a chance to opt out – or to register with one of the state’s parties. But the conventional wisdom is that most of these voters will not bother to register with one of the parties.
“People more and more don’t have the same kind of alignment with a political party,” said Hoyle, noting that younger voters in particular are less interested in being a member of a party.