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Oregon leans blue, but indies are growing

With the election coming up in November, I was wondering how many Democrats are in Oregon compared to Republicans. I know we are considered a blue state but I was wondering how many voted in the last general election in 2010. Also, how long have we been voting by mail?

— Mary S., Medford

Twofers are frowned upon here at SYA Central but we feel magnanimous today, Mary, so we'll answer both your questions.

Indeed, we are a blue state with the donkeys trotting out well ahead of the elephants at this point.

In the 2010 general election, 863,322 Democrats cast their ballots, compared with 664,123 Republicans, according to the Elections Division of the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

There also were 541,353 voters in 2010 who were not affiliated with either major party. Those numbers are growing, the Elections Division reported.

As for voting by mail, Oregonians first stuck their toes in those waters in 1981 when voting by mail was approved on a limited basis. It proved popular so it was made a permanent feature of some of our elections in 1987.

In 1998, Oregon voters amended state law to require that the primary and general elections in May and November of even-numbered years also be conducted through vote-by-mail. Beginning in 2000, primary and general elections have been conducted by mail.

Finally, in 2007, the state Legislature ordered that all elections be conducted by mail.

Voters who are registered as of the 21st day before an election are mailed a ballot to vote and return by election day.

Don't forget to vote Nov. 6 — or, preferably, at least a few days before.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.