Voting is the foundation of our democracy. When there exists impediments to voting, it is of the utmost importance they be removed.
In the last two election cycles in Oregon, 29,000 eligible voters were unable to vote because they didn’t register in time. As our society becomes increasingly mobile due to changes in employment, familial status or other various reasons, people can expect to move with more frequency. As such, there may be many eligible voters who remain unregistered not necessarily due to apathy but because it fails to reach the top of a long priority list.
Currently, Oregon follows the federal mandate which requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to participate in the voter registration process. All DMV workers are required to ask incoming residents whether they are registered to vote or would like to their update registration. However, the current system requires a large amount of paperwork and is generally outdated. As mentioned above, this has contributed to a great number of eligible voters in Oregon who have not been registered in time to vote.
The New Motor Voter Bill, HB 2177, which is expected up for a vote on the Senate floor next week, would update this current system, increasing accuracy, convenience and security. First of all, the new system would allow Oregonian’s to register to vote at the DMV with no additional steps or paperwork. Furthermore, the bill would streamline the flow of data between the Election Division and the DMV, so that the Election Division can routinely initiate voter registration for newly eligible voters and correction of outdated information for those who have changed their legal name or address. Everyone will maintain their right to opt out. However, for those who wish to register it will be more convenient. Finally, the bill will keep confidential all voter registration information of eligible voters who are minors.
Not only would this bill HB 2177 further the efficiency with which Oregonian’s could register to vote, but it would also increase government efficiency. It would reduce the need for burdensome paperwork and decrease the possibility of human error. Additionally, it would foster increased cooperation and information sharing between government agencies helping to integrate systems and to take advantage of the advanced technology at their disposal.
Most importantly the New Motor Voter Bill respects the voting rights of all residents of Oregon. Increasing the ease with which they may register and insuring they are able to fully participate in the democratic process.
The New Motor Voter Bill HB 2177 goes up for a vote with the Senate next week. Please support this important piece of legislation.