Oregon Adopts Automatic Voter Registration

Oregon's "motor voter law" automatically registers eligible voters.

Oregon’s “motor voter law” automatically registers eligible voters.

Seventeen years ago Oregon became the first state to hold all elections with mail-in ballots. In another “first”, Oregon is the first state to automatically register people to vote. The automatic voter registration law was passed March, 2015, and became effective January 1, 2016.

Because the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services is involved, Oregonians refer to the law as the “motor voter law”. When citizens obtain or renew driver’s licenses or state identification cards they are automatically registered to vote. To those who were not previously registered, the State sends postcards notifying them that they will be registered unless they return the postcard within three weeks indicating they wish to remain unregistered.

Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins said more than 4,000 new voters were registered in the first six days of the new registration procedure. Under the old system about 2,000 new registrations occurred each month. Adkins also stated that about seven per cent of those automatically registered have opted out.

There were two surprises with the automatic registration system, according to Atkins. One was that the expected large number of angry or confused people calling to question their automatic registration didn’t materialize. In fact, there were so few such calls that a temporary worker who had been hired to answer them was not needed. The second surprise was that the new system allowed the state to immediately update 17,000 existing voter registrations to show changes of address.

The Brennan Center for Justice reports that those nations in which the government takes the lead in enrolling voters have much higher registration rates.

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Source Article from http://politicalblindspot.com/oregon-adopts-automatic-voter-registration/

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