Oregon’s third largest party is asking unaffiliated voters to help pick its candidates

SALEM - As the number of Oregon voters unaffiliated with a political party rises, so has the number of voters locked out a key part of the electoral process. Oregon’s third-largest political party sees an opportunity in that.

The Independent Party of Oregon, the state’s largest third party, is opening its primary to the state’s 948,697 voters not registered with a party — a third of the state’s electorate.

“They’re the largest group of voters and the most disenfranchised group of voters and they deserve to be heard,” said Sal Peralta, the party’s secretary.

Under current law, the two major parties could let unaffiliated voters participate in their primary elections but don’t do so.

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