Here’s the total membership changes for Oregon’s major parties in 2017 through July. This data shows running totals for the year, by month.
Two things driving these numbers. First, we’re between elections and some voters will fall off the rolls and the moderately interested voters have not yet been interested enough to register. Second is Motor Voter which now will automatically enroll new voters but doesn’t inform them they are being enrolled and doesn’t offer an opportunity at DMV to select a party. Instead, the State now requires a newly registered motor voter to either return a post card or go to their website to select a party*.
- The IPO is the only party gaining members. Though Motor Voter has slowed growth for all parties, including the IPO
- Since the Democratic and Republican Parties are so much larger than the IPO, you may wonder what is the percentage of party change. Here it is:
- Democratic = – 1.37%
- Republican = – 1.25%
- IPO =- +0.4%
- Given the turmoil nationally within the GOP, it’s interesting to me that the Democratic Party has lost more membership, in total and as a percentage, than the GOP. I believe there are two factors. First, many voters who were disenchanted with the GOP left already, and the GOP may be nearing a floor. Second, the Democrats firmly control Oregon and when people believe things are on the wrong track, they are more likely to blame the party in power. So the Democratic losses may be attributable to voters who focus on State issues.
*Separating party selection from registration has been disastrous for political parties. Prior to Motor Voter about 68% of voters selected a party. The Statistics show that voters registered through Motor Voter only select a party 12% of the time. Some non affiliated voter enthusiasts see this as an independent voter awakening. But in reality, it has the potential to disenfranchise thousands of voters in Oregon, where we have closed primaries and safe districts so that 90% of elections are decided in the primary where only party members can vote.