Motor voter has radically changed the number of voters joining a political party. By bifurcating the process of registration from party selection, over 85% of new Oregon voters are being registered as not belonging to any party. That makes it difficult to determine how new voters are trending in their registration. But we may be able to estimate new voter preferences by just looking at how Motor Voters who took the time to return their registration card acted.
The table below using Motor Voter statistics from January 2017 through April, 2017 shows party preference for voters who returned a party selection card. (Note: If the newly registered voter didn’t return a party preference or opt out card, they were registered as non affiliated with any party, these statistics don’t count those voters in the NAV column. We are only counting voters who returned their card and specifically)
|PARTY||Change||As % of Total|
Some data points:
- These statistics show that the Democrats have a solid plurality and comfortable edge over Republicans among Motor Voters. Assuming most Motor Voters are younger, that also conforms with commonly accepted theory that younger voters trend liberal as these statistics she a larger Democratic edge than current total voters registrations indicate.
- The “other/Minor Party” share is 3.5% which is a bit high, but historically consistent.
- The Independent Party is at 7%, which is well over it’s historic 5% share before Motor Voter. Again however, this higher figure is consistent with total voter registration numbers which show the IPO as being the only major political party gaining membership and with the independent voter trend over the past few years nationwide.
- The IPO + NAV total is 20.5%. Which is within a few points of the share of NAV voters before the existence of the IPO.
One big caveat. I suspect that the NAV share should be larger. Perhaps more like 20% rather than 13.5%. This is because if a voter wants to be registered NAV, all they have to do is not return a postcard. The Table below adjusts for that concern by increaseing the NAV share to 20%
|PARTY||Change||As % of Total|
By making this adjustment the share of Motor voters selecting the Democratic and Republican Parties is virtually identical to voter shares they had prior to Motor Voter. As is the share for Minor Parties. But the share of NAV + IPO, or as we refer to is, the i/Independent share, has grown by a few percent points, and more importantly from a good public policy standpoint, the IPO share is well over 5%. That is an important number because Oregon grants major party status to any political party that achieves a 5% share of all voters. That standard didn’t change when Oregon enacted Motor Voter diluting the market share of all voters because under Motor Voter, as we said earlier, 85% of all voters don’t choose a party.
Ironic that the one thing that many voters want throughout the United States, a more moderate third party, could be effectively relegated to history because of a “progressive” movement to make sure all votes count. Of course this could be easily corrected by changing the major party cutoff to 3% to take into account and adjusting for the dilution of party membership. If that is the Democrats would really like every vote to count, even those that are not Democratic Party members.