At the same time, 17,445 nonaffiliated voters decided to become Republicans, while a whopping 57,894 nonaffiliateds registered as Democrats—a little less than half of the more than 122,000 voters who've swapped political parties this year. There was all manner of changes [PDF] among the smaller parties, too.
All this switching around, much of it late, is emblematic of this bonkers election year. Officials say they haven't seen this much activity since 2008, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were still battling for the Democratic nomination into May. This year, as Oregon gets ready to hold its largely closed primaries (meaning you can't vote for Democratic or Republican candidates unless you're registered with those parties) on May 17, voters are jockeying to ensure they get a shot to vote for (or against) Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, etc.
And if you did that within the last two weeks or so, the ballot that first shows up at your door probably won't be correct. That's because Multnomah County elections officials begin preparing ballots weeks ahead of time, regardless of your last-minute indecisiveness.
"That was the correct ballot at the time we created it," says Tim Scott, elections director for Multnomah County. "The message we want people to know is: 'Don't worry.'" As in: Your actual ballot will likely be mailed to you next week, so hold tight.
And if you just couldn't wait somehow and sent the incorrect ballot in already? No big deal. Just fill out the correct one when it comes. Elections officials will disregard the other one—unless, that is, you fail to send in the second ballot, in which case they'll use the first ballot, minus all the partisan elections that your new party registration stops you from participating in.
Democracy is messy. Here are some choices we recommend you make.