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Oregon Independents Could Become Major Party

Chris Phan

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office will decide Monday whether the Independent Party of Oregon has enough voters to qualify as a major party.

To achieve that status, the party has until Sunday to capture 5 percent of registered voters in Oregon. They had enough at the last count, but that could change as new voters still have time to register or switch parties.

If they succeed, the party will have its own primary and Independent candidates will appear on the 2016 ballot with Democrats and Republicans.

Although, if that happens, it could only be for one election cycle. Starting in 2017, voters will be registered automatically through driver’s licenses. The party might not be able to hold on to enough voters after that as many will become “unaffiliated.”

But even if it’s just for a short time, it could change Oregon’s political landscape. The party could take votes that usually go to Democrats, and that could make the Republican party more competitive.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Ashley Stewart