At 91.45 percent, Wallowa County voter turnout in last week's general election was the best in the state. A total of 4,569 voters of the 4,996 registered in the county cast their ballots.

Grant County, which has close to the same number of voters as Wallowa County, was a close second, registering 90.8 percent turnout when 4,475 out of 4,926 of those registered voted.

Oregon as a whole saw 84.3 percent of its registered voters cast ballots in the Nov. 2 mail-in election, the highest rate since 1992 when 84.4 percent voted in the state.

Three other counties - Lane, Gilliam and Wheeler - in the state had 90 percent turnout. The only two Oregon counties with less than 80 percent turnout were neighboring Union County, with the state's low of 69 percent by a wide margin, and Klamath County, with 78 percent.

State-wide, 1,814,161 ballots were returned from 2,152,685 registered voters.

Because registration procedures differ in each state, the percentage of national registered voters who voted is not available. However, about 60 percent of eligible voters in the nation turned out, according to the Commission for the Study of the American Electorate. It's the highest national percentage since 1968. Oregon turned out about 70 percent of its eligible voters.

Wallowa County voters have traditionally voted at higher rate than Oregon as a whole. In recent years the county posted the top voting rate in 1996, with 86.8, percent and tied with Gilliam for the top in 2000 with 85.9 percent. It also tied for second highest in the non-presidential general elections of 1994 and 2002 with 77.3 percent and 79.3 percent voter turnout, respectively.

In the past 14 years, Wallowa County has voted below the state average only once, in 1990, when there was a 76.5 percent turnout, compared to 76.7 at the state level.

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