Turnout for Tuesday's primary is light so far
SALEM — You have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to vote in the primary.
At this point, it is too late to mail your ballot, but you may drop off your ballot at a local dropsite. You can find ballot drop-off sites at oregonvotes.gov/dropbox.
What you can vote on depends on where you live and what your party affiliation.
While there are a slew of partisan races, there are also nonpartisan seats up for election, including those of the state labor commissioner and three state Supreme Court justices.
As of Monday morning at 9 a.m., 495,987 ballots were returned across the state.
That's about 18.6 percent of registered voters, a low compared to recent years, according to the Oregon Secretary of State's Office.
In previous midterm election years, a higher share of Oregon voters have turned out by the day before the primary.
In 2014, 24.9 percent of voters had cast a ballot by the day before the election; in 2010, 28 percent; in 2006, 27 percent; and in 2002, 32 percent.
Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess was eagerly awaiting more returns Monday afternoon.
"We are just hoping we get a lot of ballots tonight or tomorrow," Burgess said, "otherwise we might be setting a record for low-percentage turnout again."
The state's automatic voter registration law — known as "Motor Voter" — went into effect in January 2016, dramatically increasing the state's voter rolls.
Now, people who go to the DMV and have a qualifying interaction get automatically registered. they can either opt out or select a political party, or do nothing and be registered as a non-affiliated voter.
Burgess says Motor Voter might play a part.
The number of registered voters has grown significantly — in Marion County alone, by nearly 33,000 people between January 2016 and August 2017, Secretary of State data show — and not all who were automatically registered participate in elections.
Burgess says that typically he sees about 10 percent of total ballots come in on the day before an election, and about 20 percent of all ballots on Election Day.
"Between a quarter and a third of people wait until the last two days," Burgess said.
Thus far, Grant County has the highest turnout, with about 47 percent of voters returning a ballot as of Monday morning. Lowest so far is Washington County, with 14 percent of ballots returned.
In the 2014 primary — the most recent midterm election year, where there was no election for president on the ballot — 35.9 percent of registered voters cast a ballot.
Turnout could be higher in this year's general election, scheduled for Nov. 6. In the 2014 general election, 70.9 percent of Oregon's registered voters voted.
Republicans had turned out the most of any bloc of registered voters as of Monday morning, at about 25.9 percent. About 23.7 percent of registered Democrats had cast a ballot.
About 7.4 percent of non-affiliated voters, the state's second-largest voting bloc behind registered Democrats, had voted as of Monday.