Oregon voter turnout heating up ahead of the 2022 election. Will nonpartisan voters cast buckets of ballots at the last minute – or remain on the sidelines?

Voter turnout in Oregon stood at 35% at the end of the day Friday, putting it within 2 percentage points of turnout at the same point in the election cycle four years ago, the state reported Monday.

Total votes cast surpassed 1 million that Friday.

Turnout so far among registered Democrats and particularly among registered Republicans is relatively strong at 44% and 48% respectively. Turnout for both parties reached 80% by Election Day 2018.

But the state’s 1.03 million unaffiliated voters, who slightly outnumber Democrats (1.02 million) and well outnumber Republicans (731,000), are showing tepid turnout so far, at just 20%. Four years ago, 22% of unaffiliated voters had turned in their ballot at this same point in the election cycle, and by Election Day, 45% of them cast ballots.

Voters have until Tuesday to get their ballots postmarked or turn them in by 8 p.m. at an official drop site.

Despite a flood of more than 49,000 ballots reaching Multnomah County’s election office Friday, the state’s most populous county still bore the dubious title of the county with the worst turnout – 30.9% – at the close of business Friday. Multnomah County voters have long showed a propensity for last-minute voting; four years ago, more than 100,000 of them got their ballots to the election office on Election Day.

— Betsy Hammond; betsyhammond@oregonian.com; @OregonPolEd

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