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The Independent Party of Oregon is now officially recognized as a major party in the state, according to the Secretary of State's Office. The Independent Party of Oregon officially achieved major party status on Monday, meaning the state will finance and administer its 2016 primary election. The party's winning candidates will automatically appear on general election ballots, just like the Democratic and Republican candidates.


"I'm thrilled," says Independent Party of Oregon Secretary Sal Peralta. "This is the culmination of years of hard work and the beginning of the transition to the next phase of the party."

Last week, the party began soliciting candidates to run in a primary election. According to Peralta, candidates who want to run in the Independent Party primary election must register with the party by Sept. 10. Peralta says the party's initial goals are modest, just seven or eight viable candidates for seats in the Legislature. But any qualified candidate can run for statewide offices, too.

Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins made the announcement Monday morning. She said the party had more than 5 percent of the registered voters in the state as of Sunday, Aug. 16, as required by law.

"In order to qualify as a major political party in Oregon, a party must have 108,739 registered voters 275 days before the 2016 May primary. The Independent Party of Oregon had 109,363 registered voters as of Aug. 16, the deadline," according to Atkins' statement.

Major party status may be short lived for the Independent Party, however. The so-called motor voter law that takes effect in 2017 is expected to substantially increase the number of first-time non-affiliated voters, reducing the percentage of voters registered to all parties. The effect on the Independent Party could be especally significant because it is so close to the 5 percent minimum.

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