Today's Oregon vote expected to top a million

The procrastinators and the undecideds started flooding drop boxes today as Oregon got ready to count its primary election votes, which are likely to be swelled by a spirited contest between Democratic presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Ballots are counted tonight. By then, state officials estimate, more than half the state's 2 million registered voters will have returned their ballots. In Jackson County, Clerk Chris Walker also expected turnout of about 50 percent.

Oregonians got their ballots in the mail early in May and have been returning them since then. Although Oregon's system is often described as vote by mail, people who wait until it's too late for the Postal Service to deliver their ballots drop them off at public buildings, libraries, senior centers, fire halls, markets and the like.

As of this morning, the secretary of state's office said, about 41 percent of registered votes had returned their ballots.

Another 200,000 or so were expected to do so today.

Democrats were voting in greater numbers than Republicans. Statewide, about 54 percent of Democrats had turned in ballots statewide, compared to about 39 percent of Republicans.

Even an overall turnout of 60 percent wouldn't be a record — primary voter turnout hit 73 percent in a 1968 race that featured Democrats Robert F. Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy. McCarthy won.

— The Associated Press

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