Only 7% of Voters Have Turned Out For Oregon Primaries

With just over a week to go before the primary election in May, only around 7% of registered voters have returned ballots so far. This is lower than the same point in previous primary elections.


Primary Elections In Oregon

Tim Scott, the director of Multnomah County Elections has reminded citizens to put their completed ballot papers that were mailed to them in an official ballot box before the May 21 primary to make sure it gets counted. He said, “There’s still a lot of contests on the ballot for people to vote on.”

See also: Oregon’s Primary Ballots Mailed To Voters

Scott said residents should already have received their ballots. If not they can contact the Multnomah County Elections office at 503-988-3720 for a replacement ballot. Returned ballot papers must be postmarked by May 21st or dropped off in one of the official drop boxes by no later than 8 p.m. on election day.

The Multnomah County Elections office anticipates lower voter turnout for the primary election this year, in part because many voters have already decided on the presidential primary candidates. Scott also attributed low voting rates to Portland City Council’s decision not to hold primary elections because of its new ranked-choice voting system.


Oregon Voter Turnout Lower Than Previous Elections

Oregon voters are returning ballots at a rate lower than in previous elections, with Oregon’s Secretary of State Office having received over 213,700 returned ballots so far this year. With over 3 million voters registered, this number represents around 7% of eligible voters.

See also: Jackson County Non-Affiliates Exceed Partisan Registrations For Local Elections As Voting Deadline Looms


Historically, the Oregon voter turnout rate at this point was:

  • In 2022:  9.8%.
  • In 2020: just under 11%.

Oregon’s three counties with the highest population numbers reported a similar trend. Over 40,800 ballots had been returned by Monday in Multnomah County. 76,670 had been returned by the same day in 2022 and 115,629 in 2020.

The low turnout is despite that total voter registrations increased for the third consecutive primary election in Multnomah County, which had 539,380 residents registered this month. Conversely, the percentage of voters turning in ballots declined every year, falling to this year’s ballot return rate of 7.2%.

Yet Multnomah’s turnout exceeds the turnout in Washington County and Clackamas where 6.6% and 5.7% of registered voters have returned their ballot papers in the respective counties. Scott did note that there is still a week and a day left.

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