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Oregon Secretary Of State Hopes For High Voter Turnout

<p>A voter drops off her ballot in 2014. Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins hopes the state will see high voter turnout for the state primary election.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

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A voter drops off her ballot in 2014. Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins hopes the state will see high voter turnout for the state primary election.

More than a half million Oregon voters had turned-in their ballots by Friday, ahead of the May 17 primary election. Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins said that’s almost 25 percent of eligible voters.

“That’s running a little bit behind eight years ago, when we had an open presidential election, but we also have more voters," she said.

Oregon lawmakers recently passed a voter registration law that automatically enrolls people to vote using their driver's license information. The so-called "motor voter" law has enrolled about 50,000 Oregonians since it took effect this year.

Atkins was optimistic that returns for May's primary election will be good.

"We have the possibility for the second time in history, the first being in 2008, to get to a million votes cast,” Atkins said.

It’s too late to mail your ballot, but there are numerous drop boxes available. There’s a box in every Multnomah County library branch, open during library hours. Some drop boxes are available 24 hours a day, including one in Pioneer Courthouse Square.

About half of all votes will be counted over the next four days, according to Atkins.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.