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electionlineWeekly — June 2, 2016

Table of Contents

II. Primary Updates

Georgia
While the 2016 primary season isn’t quite over yet, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is already looking ahead to 2020 and is advocating that Georgia and other states stick with the SEC Primary that happened this year on March 1.

Maryland
Candidate and former Mayor Sheila Dixon chose not to seek a recount in the April primary in Baltimore. Dixon lost by about 2,400 votes. The state, which decertified the primary for a review found that about 1,188 provisional ballots were improperly counted. The state has since recertified the election.

"While the city Board of Elections has re-certified the election results and I have decided not to seek a recount, the questions surrounding this election must be answered," Dixon said in a statement to The Baltimore Sun. "The irregularities in this election are not acceptable. This process is not over until we can assure every Baltimore citizen that their vote will be counted, not just in this election, but in future elections as well."

North Carolina
The North Carolina State Board of Elections has ruled that 892 provisional ballots cast during the March 15 primary in Durham County may be recast by mail. According to The Associated Press, the decision by the SBOE came out of an investigation into discrepancies in the primaries that found the state only had physical copies for 980 provisional ballots, despite having approved or partially approved 1,039 provisionals. The new ballots will be sent after the June 7 Congressional primary.

Oregon
The Oregon Secretary of State’s office released information this week about the impact automatic voter registration had on the state’s May primary.

According to the most recent analysis by the state Elections Division, 8,135 votes were cast by Oregonians who were registered through the Oregon Motor Voter (OMV) program. With 43,571 eligible OMV voters, this means 18.7 percent of the OMV-registered voters who were eligible to vote on May 17th (registered by April 26th) participated in the primary election. 

“It’s important to keep in mind that the population of voters registered through Oregon Motor Voter made up about two percent of the electorate in the recent primary election,” Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins said in a statement. “This is a very small number in an election that saw the largest number of primary voters in Oregon’s history. We have made some interesting observations on this population, but these numbers are only the first glimpse of how Oregon Motor Voter might result in more participation.  We look forward to doing more analysis after the November General Election and in the years ahead.”

Other analysis shows that voters who chose to register with a political party voted at higher rates than did nonaffiliated voters. Nonaffiliated voters who registered through OMV voted at a rate of about 6 percent whereas nonaffiliated voters who registered through other means voted at a rate of about 22 percent.

“This election gave us our first metric to assess participation by new OMV voters – but it will take a number of election cycles for the exact effects of the program to be analyzed. I think we can say: so far, so good. But we have a lot to learn over the next several election cycles as this pioneering program becomes the norm for voter registration in Oregon,” said Atkins.