Oregon has mail-in voting, no serious efforts at voter disenfranchisement, and an engaged populace. Here's the big one
Out of the 2.2 million registered voters in Oregon, 69.5 percent, or 1,519,804, returned ballots.
Which is actually a point and a half down from the 2010 midterm.
And the result?
- Despite a huge Koch cash dump, liberal Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley re-elected in a landslide.
- Despite a relentless smear campaign by the state's largest (but shrinking) newspaper, Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber re-elected to an unprecedented fourth term.
- The Democrats' state House majority expanded.
- The Democrats' state Senate majority expanded by the critical seat that will neutralize a conservadem who had been gumming up the works, with a second possible pickup still too close to call.
- Marijuana easily legalized.
- An equal rights amendment resoundingly passed.
- Top two primaries resoundingly rejected.
A couple of other good ballot measures failed, but overall this was a wide and deep sweep for Oregon Democrats, who continue to hold all statewide offices, and four of five Congressional seats.
It's easy to point to Oregon's overall liberal population, but that liberal population's political success also could be used as an excuse for many not to vote. But 69.5 percent did vote, which may be pathetic by international standards, but is astonishing by American standards. Voting is made easy, voting is encouraged, people vote, and Democrats won big. There's a lesson or two in there.