Since at least last Monday, the Oregon Secretary of State’s website has published turnout numbers for the upcoming midterm. For whatever reason, however, they did not publish any data over the weekend, leaving me (and potentially many campaign managers) frustrated by the lack of information. Turnout is, probably, the most important issue in midterm elections, and leaving so many in the dark during such a crucial moment in the election is really unfortunate.
Thankfully, however, the office once again published their data earlier today. As in an earlier post, I’ve rank ordered the counties by overall turnout, democratic turnout, and republican turnout:
A few comments. First, the largest counties are once still turning out the slowest, with Multnomah county and Washington county near the bottom. At the same time, the smallest counties are continuing to turn out their ballots at a fast pace, with the second and third smallest counties (Sherman and Gilliam) at the top.
I still suspect that we can explain this as a product of young and minority voters (who are more likely to live in cities, which are more likely to be in larger counties) either waiting to vote until Election Day or not turning out at all.
Should this make democrats in Multnomah and Washington county nervous? On the one hand, of course, since low democratic turnout can’t bode well for their chances to win. Furthermore, the difference between democratic and republican turnout in both counties is non-negligible, with a republican edge of 10.7% in Multnomah county, and in Washington county, an edge of 6%. Races have been won or lost by closer margins.
On the other hand, however, if we look at the raw turnout numbers, the story looks much better for democrats. In Multnomah county, 88,596 democratic ballots were returned by Sunday night, compared to just 26,239 republican ballots. In other words, the race ain’t close. In Washington county, 44,686 democratic ballots have been returned, compared to 34,739. A closer race, no doubt, but still a democratic advantage.
No surprise, everything comes down to the final two days of voting. If you live in Portland, or if you live in Hilsboro, and you have any interest in the outcome of this election, it’s likely that you know a couple registered voters who still need to turn in their ballots. Act now, or forever hold your piece.