Ann McGarry/OPB

Election officials in the Northwest say voter turnout this year could break records.

About 61 percent of eligible voters in Oregon had turned in their ballots as of  Tuesday morning, totaling more than 1.5 million ballots cast.

Molly Woon of the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office said she expects that number to rise significantly by 8 p.m. on Election Day, typically when the most ballots are cast. But, she said, the surge in eligible voters from Oregon’s new automatic voter registration law makes turnout projections difficult.

“We haven’t made any turnout prediction on voter turnout based on percentage of eligible voters just because there are so many more eligible voters,” Woon said. “What we are saying is we expect more ballots to be cast in this election than any in Oregon’s history.”

Oregon’s highest voter turnout in recent years was in 2004, with 86 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

In Washington, election officials are also planning for a record-breaking turnout.

By Election Day, more than 2 million ballots had been returned, accounting for more than half of ballots that had been sent out, according to the Washington Secretary of State’s office.