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Chance to vote only possible for those who register

You have a duty that is also an opportunity to make history.

The next national elections may be the most significant in half a century. And the Oregon primary election, for the first time in years, is far more than the usual chance to rubber-stamp the front-runners among party candidates.

Oregon has a 'closed' primary system - meaning that unless you are registered to the party of your favorite candidates, you cannot vote for them on May 20.

Considering the number of tight races in this year's primary, every vote will be important. If your vote is not among them, you will have no right to complain of the results.

This year, a record-breaking number of people are switching their party registrations, or registering to vote for the first time in this state.

Registration is simple - but essential. An Oregon Voter Registration Card can be picked up at post offices, libraries, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices, or on the web at http://oregonvotes.org/votreg/sel500.pdf.

Fill out the form completely, items 1 through 5, and sign it. (Item 6 is to be filled out only by those who are moving from another state.)

Then mail the card, the sooner the better, to the Washington County Elections Division at 3700 S.W. Murray Boulevard, Suite 101, Beaverton, Ore., 97005.

The card must be in that office by April 29, particularly if you are changing party affiliation.

Before the primary elections, you will receive a postcard confirming your registration - and your chance to help decide your candidates', and ultimately your nation's, future.

Walt Wentz

Forest Grove