It is the summer before elections so it is the bi-annual season for voter registration drives. Crews around the country are busy going door to door to sign up new voters.
We decided to do a comparison between the voters and the non voters in Oregon. The results are shown in the charts and maps below.
The first row shows the different data for all Oregonians 18 and over. The middle row shows the voters in Oregon and the bottom row shows the same data for people 18 and over who are not registered to vote.
In Oregon 30.9% of the population 18 and over is not registered to vote. If these adults were registered to vote they could determine the political make-up of Oregon. The group of non-voters is five times as large as the voter registration difference between Democrats and Republicans.
A few things jump out of the statistics. The third column show an estimate of the ethnicity of the adult population. The Hispanic population, shown in yellow in the pie chart, is a much larger percentage among the non-voters than in the general population. It seems Latino’s are less likely to register to vote. The fourth column shows a surprising result and we don’t have a good explanation for this. According to the data that we have non-voters are much more likely to have a computer owner in the home than registered voters. It may be that we had better data about the non-voters. Column five shows that non-voters are less likely to buy books than voters. The sixth column shows levels of education. College degrees are shown in yellow and red, whereas high school diplomas or less education is shown in variations of blue. The graphs show that Non-voters have relatively less education than voters. Non-voters are less likely to be married. The second from right column shows the ISPSA Social Economical Ladder from less affluent in yellow at the top to most affluent in red at the bottom of each chart. Voters are much more likely to be in the higher regions of the social scale. The last column shows income estimates for the population as a percentage of the state income decile. Voters are more likely to be in the top earning percentages than non-voters.
We also took a look at how Oregonian voters and non-voters are distributed across the state. The map below shows some interesting results.
The map shows above shows party registration and non-voters for all counties in Oregon. The non-voters are colored in yellow. Counties that are colored more blue have a larger percentage of voters registered as Democrats. Red counties have a larger percentage of Republicans. The lighter the county is colored the higher the percentage of non-voters.
Statewide 30.9% of the adult population is not registered to vote. In the three urban counties that make up Portland the percentage of non-voters is all within a few percentage points of the state average. If we look in rural counties, however, there are extreme differences. In Malheur county in the rural south-east of Oregon 39.5% of the population is non-voter. Some other small rural counties such as Sherman, Wheeler and Gilliam have non-voter percentages in the low twenties. Compared to these counties Malheur has a 92% higher percentage of non-voters.
In the more populous counties in Oregon on the west side of the Cascade Mountains the registration differences seem to be much smaller. There doesn’t seem to be a clear pattern in the counties east of the Cascades. Klamath, Umatilla and Malheur have non-voter percentages in the mid to high thirties whereas Sherman, Gilliam, Wheeler and Wallowa have percentages in the low twenties.
We decided to ‘zoom in’ and take a closer look at the voter registration east of the Cascades in Oregon. The map below shows the same voter registration data but now the data is colored by Census Block.
The Census Blocks that are colored yellow have a very high percentage of non-voters. We can now see that the counties are not colored uniformly, instead there are small patches of yellow with very high non-voter percentages. In Umatilla there are Census Block Groups around Hermiston and Milton-Freewater with non-voter ratios over 50%. In Malheur county there are Census Block Groups around Ontario and Nyssa that approach 60% non voters. This skews the average in this small county with only 18,759 voters. In the rest of the county the non-registration percentage is actually close to the state average.
The image below shows a close-up look of the voter registration around Ontario, Oregon on the Idaho border.
This map shows that there are four Census Block Groups in Ontario with non-voter percentages between 50% and 60%. The Block Groups around the center are the most yellow and have the highest percentages of non-voters. Block Group Five between the town center and the Snake river has 57.3% and the Block Group immediately to its north has a whopping 59.1%. Block Group Two at the west side of the town has a 55.9% non-voter percentage. The town center has registration percentages that are much closer to the state average.
We can zoom in once more to look at Ontario in greater detail.
This map shows which Census Blocks have the highest non-voter percentages. Each yellow marker indicates a Census Block with a high non-voter percentage. This map shows where voter registration drives can yield the best returns.