Mid-valley voters registered as Independents — with a capital I — get a chance to take part in a historic first starting Thursday.
The Independent Party of Oregon is launching the first statewide nominating election to be conducted entirely on the Internet.
In the mid-valley, the candidates in Senate District 8 — Republican incumbent Frank Morse of Albany and Democrat Dan Rayfield of Corvallis — are also seeking the Independent nomination.
Under a 2009 law, candidates in the general election can list up to three party nominations with their names.
Sal Peralta, secretary of the Independent Party, told the Democrat-Herald Tuesday that officers of the party advanced most of the money to pay for the online voting, which is costing about $16,000.
The party contracted with Everyone Counts Inc. of San Diego, which Peralta said also has a contract with the federal government to conduct elections among armed forces stationed abroad.
Party members — about 55,000 statewide and about 1,500 in Senate District 8 — were to get postcards in the mail today with their passwords to join the voting.
The election takes place from 8 a.m. Thursday until 5 p.m. July 30.
Peralta said three officers of the party, together, will unlock the online process on July 30 and announce the results.
Among the candidates also seeking Independent nominations are the major candidates for governor, Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley, as well as the Democrats and Republicans running for the U.S. House in the 4th and 5th districts.
The Independent Party was formed in 2006 and recognized by the state in 2007.
In Benton County, elections supervisor Jill Van Buren has said that some voters may have registered as Independents by mistake, wanting to sign up as unaffiliated voters instead.
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