- Chris Miller
- Deschutes County's drive-through ballot drop site was a busy place Nov. 6.
-In 2016—the year that pitted Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton for the presidency—voter turnout in Deschutes County was 82.04 percent, with 100,261 of the 122,216 eligible voters in the county voting in that election.
-This year, 2018, voter turnout was 69.21 percent—though the voter numbers went way up. This year, there were 135,414 eligible voters in Deschutes County, with 93,715 of them turning out for this midterm election.
-Compare that to the last midterm election in 2014, when there were 99,298 eligible voters in the county, and 72.63 percent of them—or 72,125 voters voted in the 2014 election.
Here's another look at that data:
|Voter Turnout %||# of Voters Who Voted|
|2014||72.63||72,125 of 99,298|
|2016||82.04||100,261 of 122,216|
|2018||69.21||93,715 of 135,414|
From those numbers, it's clear that far more people voted—at least numbers-wise, if not percentage-wise—in this election than did in the last midterm election.
People are moving to Deschutes County at a high rate, and Bend was rated the 4th-fastest growing city in the United States by WalletHub this year. That's one reason for an increase in eligible voters. According to U.S. Census data, the population of Deschutes County was 169,497 in 2014. In 2017—the most recent data available from the U.S. Census—186,875 people lived in the county.
What's with the staggering rise in the number of eligible voters in the county?
That's an increase of just 17,378 people from 2014 to 2017—far fewer than the increase in voter registrations. From the 2014 election to the 2018 election, Deschutes County added 36,116 more voters.
Confused yet? Why would the number of voters increase at a far higher rate than the population?
- Nicole Vulcan
A big change happened in Oregon in 2015. That year, Governor Kate Brown signed Oregon's "Motor Voter" law, which made it possible for Oregonians to automatically register to vote when they get a driver's license or state I.D. Voter numbers went way up by the next year, by 300,000 people in one year statewide.
Voting in Local Races Way Up
Across the board, the number of voters voting in local elections in Deschutes County were way up in terms of the numbers of people voting in those elections. Here's a look at the numbers, using the most recent unofficial elections results from the Deschutes County Clerk.
Congressional District 2 Race:
(+24,031 voted this year)
(+24,227 voted this year)
Oregon House District 53:
(+15,219 voted this year)
Oregon House District 54:
(+8,546 voted this year)
Deschutes County Commissioner Pos. 1:
(+23,932 voted this year)
Deschutes County Commissioner Pos. 3:
2014: 47,446 (unopposed race)
2018: 88,989 (two-candidate race)
(+41,543 voted this year)