It was appropriate that during the same week of commemoration and reenactment of the civil rights movement’s march across the Selma, Alabama, bridge that led to “Bloody Sunday” and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Oregon Legislature took steps to further advance the opportunity to vote. Under the “New Motor Voter” bill passed last week, Oregon, already a leader in encouraging voter participation through its vote-by-mail balloting, will have the most expansive voter registration system in the country. By providing automatic voter registration for any citizen obtaining a driver’s license who’s not already registered, the bill makes it easier for many to register, especially for poorer and younger voters who move a lot. An estimated 300,000 new voters could be added to the nearly 2.2 million currently registered voters.
Since obtaining a driver’s license now requires proof of citizenship or legal presence, prevention of fraud was pretty much eliminated as an excuse to oppose the bill. That left opponents with some rather hollow arguments to justify their opposition.
They raised the specter of invasion of privacy because information gathered by the state Driver and Motor Vehicles Services Division would be transferred to voter registration rolls that are open to the public. But the bill prevents transfer of data from people who have special protected status for their DMV data.
Full Article: Oregon again will lead nation in voters’ rights.