Presidential election year boosts Deschutes Co. voter registration

Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day – to get people ready to cast their ballots in November.

Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship says every presidential election brings an increase in registrations and this year is no different.

She expects the county to exceed 150,000 voters this cycle – that would be 22% jump from the 122,892 voters in November 2016.

And that’s with pandemic-related closures of the DMV which have slowed the registration process for some people.

She says there’s a way around the DMV to get registered before the deadline on October 13th.

“We do direct people to go to OregonVotes.gov, they can start filling out a voter registration,” she said. “If they don’t have a DMV number, they can easily print that out, fill out the required information and send it in to us.”

According to the numbers in August, more people in Deschutes County identify as “non-affiliated” than Democrats or Republicans.

For voters hoping to hear from the candidates, the Deschutes County League of Women Voters and City Club of Central oregon kick off a series of virtual forums Tuesday.

They will host 11 forums over the next month, airing on the City Club’s YouTube channel.

Tonight it’s the race for Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District, the seat GOP Rep. Greg Walden has held since 1999. He’s retiring at the end of this year.

Republican Cliff Bentz declined to appear so the moderator will talk only with the Democratic candidate, Alex Spenser.

The discussion begins at 7 p.m.

You can see the full forum schedule here.

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