Automatic voter registration, linked with Oregon driver records, is headed to Gov. Kate Brown. The Senate passed the bill on a 17-13 vote Thursday. “I applaud the Senate for passing House Bill 2177, Oregon’s motor voter bill,” Brown said in a statement after the vote. “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for eligible voters to participate in our elections. As secretary of state, the motor voter bill was my top priority, and I look forward to signing this bill into law.” As she did on a similar bill two years ago, Democratic Sen. Betsy Johnson of Scappoose joined 12 Republicans against HB 2177. All other Democrats voted for it. The 2013 bill died on a 15-15 vote; Republicans then had 14 members. The House passed it on Feb. 20, also along party lines.
As secretary of state, Brown testified for the bill on Feb. 2, the first day of the session. She became governor on Feb. 18 after John Kitzhaber resigned under pressure.
According to Gina Zejdlik, senior policy adviser to Brown and her chief of staff when Brown was secretary of state, the bill would add 300,000 to 400,000 voters to Oregon’s 2.2 million registered voters. Estimates put the total eligible but unregistered at 800,000.
The bill authorizes electronic transfer of records from the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division to the secretary of state, which maintains the Oregon Centralized Voter Registration system that ties in Oregon’s 36 counties. Under current practice and a 1993 federal law, people are asked if they want to register to vote or change their address when they obtain a driver’s license. But those changes are made in paper form.
Full Article: Senate clears automatic voter registration.