More on 2006 Turnout, Oregon

As promised, from our press release, written by a smart student who is entering grad school soon ….

Voting by Mail—Turnout Effects in Oregon

It’s been Election Day in Oregon for eight days now. For more than a decade statewide elections in Oregon have been conducted entirely by mail. It is clear, when compared to the 2002 and 2004 contest, that early voting is not higher in Oregon, in contrast to what is occurring in states such as Tennessee, Florida, Colorado, and Texas.

Early voting increases rapidly when states relax their requirements—such as adopting no excuse absentee balloting—and make early voting convenient. However, these new voting methods do not appear to have much of an impact on turnout, especially once the systems have been in place for a significant length of time, as they have been in Oregon.

Instead, campaign spending, voter mobilization, and the state of the times drive turnout. In Oregon in 2006, A lot more money is being spent on GOTV this year, but because there are not many ballot measures energizing the base—such as gay marriage or abortion—turnout will be similar to 2002.