A measure that would use driver license data to register hundreds of thousands of additional Oregonians to vote on Wednesday passed the House Rules Committee on a 5-4 party-line vote. The measure, sought by Secretary of State Kate Brown, was supported by the majority Democrats and opposed by the panel’s Republicans. It was one of the first bills to begin moving through the House in this session. The measure, House Bill 2177, now moves to the Joint Ways and Means Committee, which will examine the estimated $1.5 million cost of the measure to the state and to county election departments.
The path-breaking measure is aimed at registering a big chunk of the Oregonians who aren’t registered to vote, either because they’ve moved and not updated their registration or because they never registered in the first place.
The proposal, which narrowly failed to pass the 2013 Legislature, is widely seen as helping Democrats in elections since many of their voters — who are often younger and poorer — tend to move more often.