Primary Elections

Major political parties in Oregon hold primary elections to choose candidates to represent them in general elections. Oregon law allows major political parties to decide whether to hold open or closed primary elections.

Closed party primary

Only voters registered with the party holding the primary election can participate in its primary election.  

Open party primary

The primary election is opened up to all non­affiliated voters in the state, as well as those voters registered as members of that party. Non­affiliated voters who wish to participate in a party’s open primary must make a written request to the Multnomah County Elections Division for an open primary ballot before the Voter Registration and Party Change Deadline, 21 days before Primary Election Day. Candidates listed on a primary nominating ballot for a major political party are limited to those registered with that political party.

Oregon’s minor political parties (see list below) each have their own method for choosing their candidates for the November General Election.     

Partisan offices on the ballot in Multnomah County for a primary election (where only members of the Democratic or Republican party can vote on their major party candidates) can include the following:

  • US President
  • US Senate
  • US Representative of Congress
  • Secretary of State
  • State Treasurer
  • Attorney General
  • State Senate
  • State Representative

There is no cost or membership fees to be part of a political party. You can change your party selection any time by updating your registration at or by filling out a new Oregon Voter Registration Card. However, if you want to receive a ballot for a major party’s primary election you must make changes to party selection no later than the Voter Registration and Party Change Deadline, 21 days before Primary Election Day. 

Political Parties

There are two major political parties and six minor political parties in Oregon. You can choose to be a member of a party, or you can choose to not be a member of a party (nonaffiliated).

Major political parties

Democratic Party -
Republican Party -

Minor political parties

Constitution Party -
Independent Party -
Libertarian Party -
Pacific Green Party -
Progressive Party -
Working Families Party -

​If you have questions or would like more information about closed primary elections and other elections processes, please visit the Oregon Secretary of State’s website at or call 1.866.673.VOTE (8683).
For Voter Education and Outreach support please contact Multnomah County Elections at 503-988-VOTE (8683) or

**The Voter Education and Outreach Program does not provide support at political events and is entirely nonpartisan. Multnomah County Elections does not endorse or discuss any particular candidates or measures.

Closed Primary Elections & Political Parties in Oregon (236.7 KB)