Multnomah County voters are returning their ballots at a brisk pace so far. Through Saturday, more than 59,000 ballots had been returned to Multnomah County Elections.
That's 10.44% of the registered votes in the county and well ahead of both the absolute numbers and the percentage of voters who turned in their ballots promptly in the 2016 presidential election.
In 2016, it took until the Tuesday after ballots dropped to get to 11%.
As always, the percentage of voters who turn in ballots needs some qualification. Oregon's motor voter automatic registration law went into effect Jan. 1, 2016. That law has had the effect of greatly increasing voter registration, but those newly registered voters have tended to vote at a lower rate than those already registered.
So there are far more registered voters in Multnomah County today than in 2016: 568,094 compared to 504,955, an increase of 12.5%. Yet despite that growth and despite many of the new voters being less gung ho than existing voters, the numbers are up both in absolute and percentage terms.
The increase may stem in part from the urging of officials to turn in ballots promptly amid anxiety about the reliability of the U.S. Postal Service.
Another difference from 2016: That year, Ted Wheeler won the mayor's race in the primary. This year, in addition to a heavy slate of local ballot measures, there is a hotly contested mayoral race on the ballot.
Here are the ballot return numbers so far:
And the numbers for 2016 (note that 10/21/16 was a Friday, so the 10/24 number includes weekend ballots. In 2020, the first Sunday ballots will show up in the Monday number.)