The Democrat-controlled Oregon state legislature is making a push to implement automatic voter registration, reported The Huffington Post. The bill is favored by Oregon state lawmakers and is expected to easily pass.
If Oregon lawmakers pass the automatic voter registration bill, there could be 300,000 more eligible voters added in the state of Oregon. However, according to the Oregon Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown, there are nearly 800,000 eligible, unregistered voters in the state. A similar bill failed last year, but Oregon’s state congress gained Democrats in both chambers.
If passed, this automatic voter registration bill would be the first of its kind in the United States, but this type of legislation, overall, is hardly new. Canada has had a similar law on the books for decades.
The bill dictates that eligible voters would receive a letter notice from the secretary of state’s office that will instruct the recipient to reply by opting out or declaring a party affiliation online or by mail. Those who do not respond will automatically be registered as an unaffiliated voter.
While this legislation seems logical and pretty convenient for people, there’s always that one group that likes to ruin good things, like Oregon Republicans.
“Several of our caucus members have expressed concern that any bill allowing automatic voter registration at the DMV must protect the privacy of teen drivers, especially in light of recent government IT security breaches,” said Oregon Senate Republicans communications director Caitie Osborne. “We don’t want to put young drivers in danger of having personal information accessible to those who might abuse it.”
Protect privacy? Almost everyone’s voter information can be accessed online anyway. Osborne is just throwing around warm and fuzzy buzzwords that the public likes in order to generate support for derailing this bill. Republicans also say this is just a tactic to get more people who would vote Democrat to the polls. If the increased number just so happens to vote Democrat, then so be it. At least this isn’t a Republican tactic, like gerrymandering.
This is an interesting experiment, and this bill might actually help get more people to the polls, at least in the state of Oregon. Hopefully this measure will catch wind over the next few election cycles and become a common thing.