Oregon Motor-Voter Law Goes Into Effect Jan. 1

By: Bridget Clerkin October 29, 2015
The motor-voter program aims to get more voters to the polls.
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More than 100,000 new names could be added to Oregon’s voter roles before the next presidential election, thanks to precedent-setting legislation passed in the Beaver State this spring.

The “Motor Voter” law, adopted by Oregon this March, will go into effect on January 1, 2016. Intended to bolster participation at the polls, the measure will automatically register all those applying for a new license or renewing a driver’s license to vote.

The legislation is expected to usher in around 10,000 new registered voters every month, according to Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins. Along with automatically registering participants as a valid, “unaffiliated” voter, the law will add the names and addresses of the enrollees to a publically accessible database, which is frequently used by political parties in get-out-the-vote efforts.

Atkins said participants can sign up to protect their records through other state programs, although she added that voter registration is generally public information. Enrollees will also be able to affiliate themselves with a political party once their name has been added to the roles.

The civil duty-minded legislation inspired a similar law to be passed in California recently, and the Illinois legislature is strongly considering crafting its own version of the measure.

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