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Turnout in Oregon Is Looking Good So Far for Marijuana Legalization

It’s looking good for pot and pumpkins

Oregon votes entirely by mail so the election is more of a rolling process than a single event. This allows the process to be monitored to get an impression of what the final result will be.

Figures from the Oregon Secretary of State paint a picture that is mostly positive for Measure 91, the legalization ballot initiative.

First, we see that turnout is on track to be relatively good for a midterm election. As of October 30th, 31.7 percent of ballots have been returned. By comparison, at this same point in past elections 33 percent of ballot were returned in 2010, 32 percent were returned in 2006, and 30 percent were returned in 2002.

Young people are the age group that supports marijuana legalization most strongly and they are also the group least likely to actually cast a ballot. The better the overall level turnout, the better it is for Measure 91.

Second, we see turnout among Democrats is also decent. Among ballots that have been returned so far, 41.8 percent were from registered Democrats and 34.45 percent from Republicans.

This is important because in Oregon polling shows Democrats overwhelmingly support Measure 91, but a majority of Republicans oppose it. Party alignment is one of the best indicators of how people are likely to vote on legalization in Oregon. The current ratio of returned ballots so far is close to likely voter projections in the recent SurveyUSA poll, which assumed 41 percent of the final vote would be from Democrats and 29 percent from Republicans. That poll found the marijuana legalization initiative winning 52 percent yes, to 41 percent no.

The data from the Secretary of State would imply the final results should fairly closely match the SuveryUSA poll which would mean a victory for Measure 91.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy

Photo by Bruce Deni under Creative Commons license

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at