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Register to vote, then do it


More than 111 million Americans of voting age didn't vote in the 2012 presidential election. Data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the least likely of all to vote are 18 to 24-year olds—just 17 percent reported voting in 2014. By age 65 and older, that jumps to 59.4 percent, which is better, but with room for improvement.

By comparison to other countries with democratic elections, voter turnout in the U.S. is among the lowest in the world. In countries such as Australia, Sweden and Belgium, for example, more than 80 percent vote. According to the Pew Research Center, in the last U.S. Presidential election in 2012, only 53.6 percent of the voting age population of America voted for President.

Voter demographics are shifting in Deschutes County, with the gap between Republicans and Democrats narrowing in recent years and more people registering as Democrats, although Republicans are still the majority. As of April 1, there are 37,880 registered Republicans and 34,167 registered Democrats in Deschutes County, according to Deschutes County's Monthly Voter Registration Report. The county received 6,327 voter registration cards during the month of March.

Oregon's primary election date is the third Tuesday in May. The Republicans and Democrats will announce Presidential nominations in July. The winner-take-all delegate system in many states means party nominees are often easy to guess before Oregon's voting date. This year, however, things could go differently. Donald Trump is currently far ahead of Ted Cruz in the race for Republican delegate votes. However, to be the automatic Republican candidate he must win more than half of all delegates. Without a majority, the Republican party is free to choose someone else. Currently, Hillary Clinton is ahead of Bernie Sanders in the race for Democratic delegates, but the journey is far from over.

On the Republican side, although Trump is ahead of Cruz, the vote is divided among more candidates, so he is not assured a majority. Trump, well-known as a reality TV host and entrepreneur, has during his campaign called for the punishment of women when he bans abortion, called global warming a hoax, recommended torture, and indicated he would cut funding to the Dept. of Education, among other things. PolitiFact, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, has calculated Trump's statements of fact are false 78 percent of the time [false: 42 percent; mostly false: 17 percent; and "pants on fire," (i.e. overwhelmingly wrong): 19 percent].

Democrat or Republican, get on fire to vote May 17.

The last day to register by mail to vote in the primary election is April 26. The primary election date in Oregon is May 17. The last day to register to vote in the presidential election (in Oregon) is Oct. 18, and the General Election will be held Nov. 8. Voter registration can be accomplished online and voter registration forms are available from the post office.

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