Sunday, February 5, 2012

Republicans Open May Primary To Non-Affiliated Voters

The Oregon Republican Party says it will allow non-affiliated voters to cast a ballot in the party's May 2012 primary, but only in certain races. The decision applies only to three races on the ballot: Secretary of State, Treasurer and Attorney General. (So, anyone hoping to cast a ballot on behalf of any of the Republican presidential candidates will still have to register as a Republican.)

What's not clear at this point is how much this gesture will really mean. With just one month to go before the deadline, not a single Republican has filed to run for Attorney General or Treasurer. There will be a choice in the GOP primary for Secretary of State, but only one candidate--Knute Buehler--is actively fundraising in support of his candidacy, suggesting that even that primary race won't be terribly competitive.

So while the GOP move will give non-affiliated voters a rare chance to vote in a partisan primary, those voters--for now--won't need to spend much time weighing their options. It's worth noting that all registered voters statewide will receive a ballot in May, since the non-partisan position of Labor Commissioner is up for grabs. So far, that race pits incumbent (and former Democratic state lawmaker) Brad Avakian against challenger (and current GOP state lawmaker) Bruce Starr.