Hillary Clinton wants to make Oregon the model for her proposal to expand access to the ballot box. On March 16, Oregon became the first state in the nation to make voter registration automatic. The legislation, known as the “Motor Voter” law, will use information collected at the state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters. Speaking in Houston Thursday, Clinton cited Oregon’s example and said automatic registration should go national. Signing her state’s registration law, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, said, “I challenge every other state in this nation to examine their policies and find ways to ensure that there are as few barriers as possible in the way of a citizen’s right to vote.” Brown introduced in the bill January while Oregon secretary of state, and became Oregon governor the following month.
Kristen Grainger, Brown’s communications director, said by phone Thursday that the governor’s office hadn’t been in touch with the Clinton campaign in advance of the presidential candidate’s speech in Houston. But she said the law had received a great deal of attention, in and outside Oregon. “It’s landmark legislation in terms of getting more ballots in the hands of more voters,” she said.
Of Clinton, Grainger added, “I think she’s holding it up as an example of what works in Oregon and thinks that other states depending on their specific voter laws would do well to engage more voters in the process of public policy making.”