The national media paid far more attention to Super Tuesday primaries in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Arkansas, but our neighbors in Oregon were busy voting too – and far exceeded the turnout posted in those other states.
Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown said Wednesday that over 41 percent of Oregon registered voters returned their mail-in ballot by the Tuesday deadline, eclipsing her earlier prediction of 37 percent. Oregon had a hotly contested governor’s primary in both parties, and Brown also attributed the strong turnout to the popularity of the state’s vote-by-mail system. The Kentucky turnout was 33 percent, Arkansas was at 25 percent and the heavily hyped Pennsylvania primary lagged at 22 percent, she said.
Washington’s primary, mostly conducted by mail, is Aug. 17, with a U.S. Senate race, an open 3rd Congressional District seat and legislative and congressional finalists to pick. In each case, the top two vote-getters for each office advance to the General Election.
Washington’s turnout in the last mid-term election, 2006, which also featured a Senate contest, but somewhat less use of mail-in ballots, was about 39 percent. Four years before that, with no Senate race to boost turnout, the rate was 34.2 percent.
So we’re wondering: Can we improve on Oregon’s 41 percent primary this summer?