A coalition of voting rights groups is urging Massachusetts to adopt automatic voter registration. The Massachusetts proposal, which is pending in a legislative committee, would let the Registry of Motor Vehicles and MassHealth automatically register citizens to vote. A person could choose to opt out. What could that look like? Ask Jeanne Atkins. Atkins was the Oregon secretary of state from March 2015 through January 2017 – a period that coincided with the signing of Oregon’s motor voter law and the first election in which it was implemented.
Atkins, who now chairs the Oregon Democratic Party, calls the law a success. “We know we’ve introduced efficiency and accuracy into the system on a level it hasn’t been before,” Atkins said in an interview. “It did expand the proportion of eligible people in Oregon who were voting.”
Oregon was the first state to implement automatic voter registration, for the 2016 election. Since then, Vermont, Colorado and Alaska all implemented automatic voter registration and another half dozen states authorized it, as of August 2017.