Oregon’s pioneering automatic voter registration system adds historic numbers to Oregon’s voter rolls
SALEM – The Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office released the first monthly report of the Oregon Motor Voter program today. The data from the first two months of implementation show 15,502 new voters were added to the rolls since Oregon Motor Voter was implemented on January 1, 2016.
“Prior to Oregon Motor Voter, the average number of new registered voters each month through all sources was around 2,000 a month,” said Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins. “Today’s report shows 24 business days of complete data. In that time, over 15,000 Oregonians have become newly registered voters. While I look around the country and see other states creating barriers to the democratic process, Oregon’s Motor Voter Program is growing the electorate by significant numbers.”
Today’s data report showed:
- 96,916 qualifying interactions at the DMV that were forwarded to the Secretary of State’s Office. These interactions represent DMV interactions with customers that are eligible to vote (U.S. Citizens and 17 years old or older) who applied for a new or replacement ID, driver’s license, or drivers permit.
- In 69.91 percent of those interactions, the person was already registered to vote.
- Since implementation on January 1, 2016, the Secretary of State has sent 29,137 Oregon Motor Voter mailers to the DMV customers, giving them 21 days to opt out, select a political party, or become registered automatically as a non-affiliated voter.
- With 24 days of “mature” data (cohorts of cards where the 21-day window to return the Oregon Motor Voter card had elapsed), 15,502 Oregonians became registered to vote.
- Of those, 13,389 records were sent to Oregon county clerks to be automatically registered as non-affiliated voters. 2,113 Oregonians chose a party preference.
- 1,166 individuals chose to opt out of voter registration.
The report released today also includes data broken down by county and party affiliation.
“All of Oregon’s 36 counties are seeing new voters because of Oregon Motor Voter,” said Secretary Atkins. “I commend the work of our county clerks. Their commitment to improving the democratic process sets an example for elections officers across the country.”
Once an eligible voter engages the Oregon Motor Voter process by visiting the DMV, they receive a card and a pre-paid postage return envelope from the Oregon State Elections Office that allows the recipient to opt out of registration, choose a political party, or take no action and become automatically registered to vote as a non-affiliated voter (not a member of a political party).
“Since January 1st, over 13,000 Oregonians have been automatically registered as new non-affiliated voters,” said Secretary Atkins. “With elections in May, my office is committed to making sure that Oregon voters know their options for these historic primaries.”
Oregon election law allows for both closed and open primaries. Non-affiliated voters will not be able to vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries this May unless they register with said party. Non-affiliated voters may participate in the Independent Party of Oregon primary by either registering as a member of the IPO or requesting a primary ballot from their county clerk. The Secretary of State will be sending a letter to every non-affiliated voter in Oregon to make them aware of these options.
Oregon’s new voter registration law, Oregon Motor Voter, took effect in January 1, 2016. This law was created by House Bill 2177, passed by the Legislature in the 2015 Session and signed into law by Governor Kate Brown. The program modernizes voter registration in Oregon and provides a secure, simple, and convenient way for more Oregonians to become registered voters.
The Secretary of State will release regular reports about voter registration and Oregon Motor Voter on the 10th of each month on the elections statistics page of the Secretary of State’s website. You can sign up for media updates from the Secretary of State here.
For more information on Oregon Motor Voter, please visit www.oregonmotorvoter.gov