Voters must be too busy shopping January sales or reading "Fire and Fury" to fill out their ballots on Measure 101, the only issue in the Jan. 23 special election.
Turnout in Mutlnomah County so far is 16.42 percent, a little higher than the statewide number of about 13 percent.
That could be because the measure is a little confusing. Last year, facing a scheduled drop in support for Medicaid, which provides heath insurance for low-income Oregonians through the Oregon Health Plan, legislators put together a package of new taxes in House Bill 2391. Those taxes included an increase on the provider tax on big hospitals; a new tax on rural hospitals; a tax on individual health insurance policies and a tax on Medicaid providers. Most of those tax dollars are then matched three-to-one with federal dollars.
Some GOP lawmakers didn't like that package and referred Measure 101 to voters, in the hope of repealing about half of it. The cost to the general fund if the repeal succeeds would be about $300 million, with three times that in federal funds.
Where the measure gets a little tricky is that a "yes" vote retains the status quo, while a "no" vote means you want to repeal some of the funding package.
Oregon doesn't have January special elections often—the last one was a proposed increase in personal and corporate income taxes in 2010. Turnout in that election finished at just under 63 percent.