SALEM, Ore. — Initial results from this year's Independent Party primary in Oregon returned some surprising outcomes from the state's Independent and unaffiliated voters in a novel online voting system.
This year the Independent Party primary took place online, using a ranked choice-adjacent voting method called STAR Voting.
Although voters not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican parties couldn't actually vote those party primaries, the Independent primary included a presidential straw poll. Of the voters who participated, the majority selected Democratic candidate Joe Biden over President Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders.
That said, the primary was not so forgiving for Democrats in other state races. Independents favored Republican Kim Thatcher for Secretary of State over any of the Democratic candidates, though the runoff race between her and Independent Ken Smith remained too close to call.
For State Treasurer, voters preferred Independent candidate Chris Henry and Republican Jeff Gudman over Democrat Tobias Read. The runoff between Henry and Gudman was also too close to call.
"The people voting in our election are clearly swing voters," said Independent Party co-chair Rob Harris. "These results mirror national data showing that Independents are not satisfied with Donald Trump's leadership and are looking for change. The state results show Oregon independents are looking for alternatives to Democratic leadership."
A statement from the Independent Party said that 40 ballots had been flagged due to issues with their credentials, and those voters will have one week to correct the problems before the election is certified.
The Independent primary was open to both the state's 123,189 Independent voters and the 962,453 non-affiliated voters — together, the state's largest voting bloc. However, initial results from the online Independent primary show only 725 eligible voters participated.