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OTHER VIEWS: Non-affiliated voters have choices

Nearly a quarter of Oregon's voters could have no say in primary elections May 17, as things now stand. Roughly 540,000 non-affiliated voters in this state will be unable to choose among the Democratic or Republican candidates for various offices including governor and secretary of state.

That's because the three major parties — Republican, Democratic and Independent — decide for themselves who can participate in party primaries. Republicans and Democrats have opted for closed primaries.

The Independent Party will allow non-affiliated voters to participate alongside its members. This is the first statewide election in which Independents are considered a major party.

Non-affiliated voters need not sit on the sidelines, however. With a month to go before the April 26 registration deadline, they have plenty of time to join a party, even temporarily.

If they become Democrats or Republicans, they will get ballots containing all their party's nominees, from president on down. Those who become Independents will vote on Independent Party candidates, generally running for state offices.

If non-affiliated voters opt to do nothing, they'll still get ballots, but those will list only nonpartisan races and any local ballot measures.

If party shopping is a problem for you, pick a party, or no party, and stick with your decision. If you see primary election registration as a tool to favor a specific candidate, then by all means, change. If voting against Donald Trump is important to you, no matter how many delegates he's amassed, then change. But do so by April 26.