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The Independent Movement is Blowing Up in Oregon

by Jeff Rempfer, published

It appears that the momentum toward non-affiliated voter registration in Oregon is not letting up. In fact, it appears to be accelerating.

Latest statistics from the Oregon secretary of state’s office show nearly a 60% growth from December 2010 to May 2017. What’s interesting is the growth of independents from 2015 to 2017, from 527,302 to 739,405 (over 200,000 new registrations).

These are amazing numbers and indicate that more and more people prefer true independence rather than giving their name to any political party.

I attribute this growth to the incredible rancor and ineptitude of the two major parties, and the failure of their leaders to address the concerns of the American people in any meaningful way.

Looking at the numbers between 2010 and 2017 reveals a lot of information. During this time, Democratic voter registrations increased by over 115,000 and Republican registrations increased by over 46,000. Modest if not disappointing results for the two major parties.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Total registrations increased by 523,358 with over 300,000 of those registrations going into the Non-Affiliated category. That means an overwhelming majority of all new registrations went Non-Affiliated. That is just incredible.

It should be noted that on January 1, 2016, Oregon’s Motor-Voter law took effect. This law automatically registers people as Non-Affiliated with an option to opt-out or to select a political party.

As of March 31, 2017, only 12% had chosen to join a political party. This can only be construed as a stunning rebuke of both major political parties.

As a percentage of registrations (May 2017), here’s how the numbers stack up: 36% are registered independent or third party, 37% Democrat, and 27% Republican.

If current trends and the rancor and ineptitude we’re currently witnessing in national, state and local politics continue, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities that the two major parties would soon have less than 50% of total voter registrations.

So, where do we go from here?

On several occasions Oregonians have defeated ballot measures that would have created “open primaries.” On those occasions, Democrats spent heavily to defeat them.

Go figure!

Personally, I am no longer a fan of “open primaries.” I believe that people have the right to freely associate and that’s the basis of political parties. They are private organizations that people join freely and this is a noteworthy distinction as it relates to opening their primaries to non-members.

But, thanks to outlets like the we can read and learn about initiatives that are happening all over the nation and one area I think that has real possibilities is in state funding of political primaries.

In Oregon, with 36% of voters not registered as Republican or Democrat, why do we still fund these private organization’s primaries? Especially, given that the two major parties spend billions of dollars during every election cycle to promote their candidates.

Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign spent over one billion dollars on her failed effort to win the White House. These money-laden political parties should pay for their own primaries. It’s only fair.

There’s also some disturbing trends out there with politicians in some states resisting change and even trying to force people to join a political party just to have the right to vote. These efforts must not prevail and hopefully the courts will see through these efforts.

ALSO READ: 12 States Where Both Parties Are Suppressing the Right to Vote

But, let’s face it, our courts even seem to be politicized, so we’ll need to see where things go.

One thing is indisputable… Non-Affiliated/No Party is the fastest growing voter registration bloc in Oregon and in many states across the nation. It’s my humble opinion that as more people begin to see the two dominating parties for the corrupt institutions they are, we will slowly but surely reach majority status and change our political system forever.

Keep spreading the word!

Photo Credit: Joe Belanger /

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