It’s official: Oregon has become the only state in the country with three major political parties. Secretary of State Kate Brown announced Monday afternoon that the Independent Party of Oregon has enough members to be a major party, on par with the Republican and Democratic parties. As of Feb. 2, the party had 108,742 members, just three more than the threshold requires, which is more than 5 percent of the registered voters in the 2014 gubernatorial election. Brown noted in a statement that the party will be subject to re-verification on Aug. 17, which could potentially change the outcome if it were to lose four members.
Oregon: Secretary of state slow to recognize Independents; Independent Party could be first new major party in decades | Bend Bulletin
The Independent Party of Oregon last month received enough members to become the newest major party in the country, joining Oregon’s Republican and Democratic parties that receive state-funded primaries. It was a well-documented and long-expected achievement as voters left the two main parties to become either unaffiliated with any party or register with a minor group, and the Independent Party membership steadily grew. So party officials and a former secretary of state wonder why Secretary of State Kate Brown hasn’t certified the party as Oregon’s first new major political group in decades. The longer Brown waits to certify the party — she has until mid-August — the less time the party has to get ready for its first election comparable to the other major parties, so the party’s officials hope Brown moves quickly as they prepare for 2016. “What’s really driving the membership growth is that more than half the country doesn’t feel well-represented by either two of the major parties,” party secretary Sal Peralta said.