Posts tagged ‘Oregon 1916 Election’

1916: Oregon Voters Expand Prohibition


Oregonians outside the more urban Tri-County area voted to support expanding prohibition. As noted in the last post, the national pattern where urban areas were more supportive and rural areas were less supportive of prohibition also held in Oregon.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

1916: Oregon Voters Soundly Reject Prohibition Pullback


Oregonians had passed a Prohibition Constitutional Amendment in 1914.  The 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution only took effect in 1920. In 1916, Oregonians were asked whether they wanted to pull back from prohibition (Measure 8) or to expand the impact of prohibition (measure 9).

The rejected pulling back by a landslide. The only place it was close was in Multnomah county. Across the nation prohibition did better in rural areas and worse in urban areas. That was true in Oregon as well.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

1916: Republican Hughes Wins Oregon – Democrat Wilson Elected


Oregon voted for Republican Charles Evans Hughes over Democrat incumbent President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson had won Oregon in 1912 when incumbent President William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt had split the Republican vote. In 1916, both Roosevelt and Taft campaigned for Hughes. Hughes narrowly lost the electoral college.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Oregon Voters by Region, 1916


Compared to today there were relatively more voters in Portland (Multnomah County) and in southern and eastern Oregon and substantially less in today’s suburban counties.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Oregon Statewide Party Registration by Gender, 1916


Women got the vote in Oregon in 1912. The United States only followed in 1920. Many women, particularly older women, were slow to register. That accounts for the still about 60% of voters in 1916 being men. Today there are more women registered in Oregon than men, largely due to longevity.

Note that women registered disproportionately for the Prohibition party. Contemporaries credited the passage of a prohibition constitutional amendment in Oregon in 1914 to women receiving the vote. Only men voted on the prohibition in 1910 it failed.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.

Oregon Statewide Party Registration, 1916


The graphic above requires a bit of explanation. First, Oregon was an overwhelmingly Republican state in 1916 in registration. This continued to be true into the 1930s.

Second, there were three partisan primaries in May, 1916: Republican, Democratic, and Progressive. Teddy Roosevelt’s strong performance in the 1912 Oregon General Election qualified the Progressive party to hold primaries in 1914 and 1916.

Third, despite holding a primary, as opposed to a nominating convention like the Prohibition and Socialist parties did, there were fewer Progressive party members. It should be noted that registration was a bit different than today. Unlike the permanent registration we have today, registration was annual. One newspaper cartoon of the time showed how the Progressive party registration had no waiting line, unlike the Democrats and Republicans.

Finally, as one might guess based on the above information, the Progressive Party nominees didn’t get enough votes to maintain a primary after 1916. This year’s primary, 2016, was the first time since 1916 that Oregon had three major party primaries.

Source: Oregon Secretary of State.