- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A record number of people - more than 2.5 million - are registered to vote in Oregon, the secretary of state said on Tuesday, predicting that more Oregonians will vote in the Nov. 8 election than ever before.

The state is also on track to add more than 250,000 new voters through the Oregon Motor Voter program in time for the election, Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins said.

“Nov. 8th will be one of the busiest elections in Oregon’s modern history,” she said.

Oregon’s voter registration law, Oregon Motor Voter, took effect on Jan. 1 of this year. It registers voters when they obtain or renew their driver’s license, permit or identification card.

“Oregon has grown over the last four years and we have actively worked to register new Oregonians as voters. Moreover, there is an unprecedented public interest in this election cycle,” Atkins said.

Among closely watched races is the special election for governor, with Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat and former secretary of state, running against Republican challenger Bud Pierce, an oncologist.

They are competing to fill the remaining two years of former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s term. He resigned amid an influence-peddling investigation, and Brown was elevated to governor.

The most contentious issue facing voters is Measure 97, which would impose a minimum tax on companies that whose sales in Oregon exceed $25 million. They would face a minimum tax of of $30,001 plus 2.5 percent of the amount above $25 million.

Brown supports Measure 97, pointing out that the state budget faces a $1.3 billion shortfall. Pierce opposes it, saying that state government should learn to live within its means.

Instead of going to the polls like in many other states, Oregonians receive their ballots in the mail and can either mail them back or post them in drop-off boxes,

Atkins said the voter registration deadline is Oct. 18, at midnight.

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Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

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