Oregon continues to lead the way in expanding voter access with the passage Monday of Senate Bill 802 which gives 16-year-olds the ability to pre-register to vote. Under current Oregon law, an otherwise qualified person who is at least 17 years of age may pre-register to vote. This legislation will lower that to age 16 so that Oregon is able to include, as part of the Motor Voter law, the nearly 20,000 16-year-olds who are licensed in Oregon every year. Without this change, it could take another eight years before those individuals again interact with the Department of Motor Vehicles and are automatically registered.
Rep. Ann Lininger (D-Lake Oswego) was a chief sponsor of the bill and carried it on the floor. “At a time of historic polarization and disenfranchisement, it is more important than ever for us to find ways to engage young people in the political process, and this bill takes an important step in making this happen,” Lininger said.
Currently, 11 states and the District of Columbia allow 16-year-olds to preregister to vote.