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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Could Soon Have Third Major Political Party

The Independent Party is on the cusp of becoming Oregon’s third major political party.

Under state law a major party has to have at least five percent of the number of voters who were registered at the last general election. The Independent Party is less than 300 voters away from reaching that threshold.

If they reach that status by next summer, it would mean that taxpayers would fund Independent Party primaries in 2016, just like they already do for Democrats and Republicans.

The Independent Party was founded just eight years ago. Some critics say its rapid growth is due to people signing up by mistake -- people who thought they were registering as unaffiliated with any party. But party officials say its growth is due to people looking for a viable third option.