Residents of a remote county in eastern Oregon where an armed group seized a federal wildlife refuge have voted overwhelmingly to keep in office a top local official who had denied the occupiers access to a county building. “I feel so good about the outcome,” Harney County Judge Steve Grasty told The Associated Press over the phone from the county courthouse in Burns. “The voters have spoken. What’s important is to move ahead, see where is the common ground … People won’t always agree but we can find what we can work on together.” Grasty had faced the special recall election Tuesday because he refused to let the activists, who said they were protesting federal land-use policies, use a county building to host a meeting. Supporters of the recall say Grasty violated rights to free speech and freedom of assembly.Full Article: Oregon county keeps judge who blocked refuge occupiers | The Tribune.
Articles about voting issues in Oregon.
Ever since Oregon approved voting exclusively by mail in 1998, Hasso Hering took comfort that a sealable “secrecy envelope” would guarantee his right to a private ballot. So when the 72-year-old from Benton County opened his ballot for the May primary, he was confused to see a non-sealable “secrecy sleeve” instead. Benton is among at least five Oregon counties, including Multnomah County, Marion County, Deschutes County and Washington County, to trade sealed envelopes for sleeves in hopes of speeding up ballot counts while still protecting voters’ privacy. But voters such as Hering worry the change could make it easier for elections workers to put a name to a ballot marking. “It is a principle of our ballot,” said Hering, a retired journalist. “How you vote is your business and no one else’s.”Full Article: Switch in ballot procedures has some worried about secrecy | OregonLive.com.
Voters in a rural Oregon town are receiving ballots in the mail for a recall election targeting a judge who opposed the armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge earlier this year. Harney County Judge Steve Grasty decided to fight the recall even though he is retiring this year. The recall has stirred passions in Burns, which held the national spotlight for weeks during the standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ammon Bundy and others occupied the refuge this winter to protest federal land policy and the imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond, two ranchers sent to prison for starting fires. The 41-day standoff ended Feb. 11 and included the fatal shooting by police of rancher and occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum.Full Article: Oregon town braces for recall election after standoff - - Capital Press.
Two weeks after a record number of Oregonians voted in the state’s May primary election, the Oregon secretary of state shared data Wednesday on voter turnout and the state’s pioneering Oregon Motor Voter program. “I am encouraged to see these new ‘motor voters,’ many of whom may have never voted before, engage in the democratic process,” said Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins. “We have received positive feedback from many Oregonians and continue to hear praise from national civic organizations and other states that are looking to Oregon as a model for democratic engagement.” According to the most recent analysis by the state Elections Division, 8,135 votes were cast by Oregonians who were registered through the Oregon Motor Voter program. With 43,571 eligible OMV voters, this means 18.7 percent of the OMV-registered voters who were eligible to vote on May 17th (registered by April 26th) participated in the primary election. Read the full report here.Full Article: Oregon elections official details 'motor voter' impact | News - Home.
Oregon: Portland tech firm Galois spins out new company to make elections more secure | Portland Business Journal
Portland computer science research and development firm Galois is taking aim at election security with its latest spin-off, Free & Fair. The new wholly-owned subsidiary is run by elections security researcher Joseph Kiniry, who two years ago illustrated how easy it is to hack vote-by-email systems, and is based on technology developed by Galois. To start, Free & Fair has three products:
- A tabulator, which is a secure and verifiable ballot scanning system.
- The ePollbook, which is a scalable and secure electronic poll book for precincts and county voting centers.
- A supervised voting system, which is a complete polling place system based on the STAR-Vote project. That project is a collaboration between academia and Travis County (Austin), Texas to create a secure, reliable and auditable voting system.
Oregon’s presidential primary is tomorrow, but the bigger story is how many new voters there are in the state. More than 100,000 new voters have registered so far in 2016, over half through the state’s new automatic voter registration system. The 51,558 voters signed up through automatic registration is an average of 12,889 new voters per month, three times higher than the average of 4,163 monthly registrants in 2012. “It looks like it’s going to be a big success,” says Nikki Fisher, executive director of The Bus Project, which helped conceive of the program. The number of voters registered has been higher than initial projections and half of new registrants are under 35. “All indications are that new people are being brought into the system,” Fisher says. This year Oregon became the first state to automatically register eligible citizens who request or renew a driver’s license through the DMV. They are sent a card informing them of their registration status and have 21 days to opt out from the voting rolls. The burden of registration shifts from the individual to the state.Full Article: Automatic Voter Registration in Oregon Is Revolutionizing American Democracy | The Nation.
Oregon’s landmark new automatic voter registration system added nearly 52,000 voters in just four months this year, more than double what the state has normally seen for an entire year. That sounds impressive, but there’s a hitch. The so-called “motor voter” law — a first in the nation widely hailed as a way to boost voter participation — hasn’t made it much easier to participate in Oregon’s closed primary on Tuesday. Unlike the November general election when all voters can participate, the presidential primary in Oregon and some other states is restricted only to voters who are registered as Republican or Democrat. Under the new law, Oregonians 18 and up are automatically registered to vote while renewing or applying for a driver’s license or state ID card, but they can’t pick a party at that time. Instead, they’re registered by default as nonaffiliated, and a few days later they can choose a party or opt out on a form sent by mail.Full Article: Oregon Automatic Voter Registration a Success, With a Hitch - ABC News.
Statutes pertaining to Oregon election laws run for pages and pages. But, for the most part, voter fraud and related illegalities are exceedingly rare, according to Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins. “I’ve been in this job since last March (2015),” she said. “And I’ve had only four or five of those come across my desk. I’d call it a relative rarity.” What scant voter malfeasance exists almost always involves one family member signing the ballot envelope of another — something that’s strictly prohibited by law. “You just can’t sign someone else’s ballot,” she said, “regardless of how well intentioned it may be.”Full Article: What's illegal in Oregon voting and what's not | OregonLive.com.
Oregon may have been first on the vote-by-mail train, but that doesn’t mean the system doesn’t have kinks. Each primary election, county clerks send out thousands of extra ballots to voters who wait until the last two weeks before the deadline to join a party or make other changes to their registration. This year has been no different. The problem? With more than 2 million ballots to send, clerks have to work ahead of time to package the ballots up for mailing. While the deadline to register, change parties or ask for an Independent Party ballot was April 26, clerks already had prepared millions of ballots, leading thousands statewide to receive a first ballot with their old information and a second ballot with the new. High interest during this presidential election has amplified the issue, as voters have flocked to join the major parties to vote in their primaries. County clerks and Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins say the system is working fine, and there’s no need to fear that votes will be counted twice.Full Article: Ballot problems in run-up to primary | Local | Eugene, Oregon.
Be warned if you changed your political party — like thousands of Oregon voters — right before the state’s April 26 deadline. Elections officials say the ballot that hit your mailbox this week is almost certainly the wrong one — full of races from the party you switched from, and not the one you switched to. That’s likely true for anyone who submitted a change after April 13. But don’t fret about losing your chance to vote. Updated ballots, correctly assembled, are already on the way, officials promise. If you haven’t sent back the first one (most Oregonians tend to wait), then all you have to do is sit tight, wait for the replacement and vote before May 17 like you normally would. Even you voted promptly, officials say, fill out the new ballot and send that one in, too. That’s the one they’ll count.Full Article: Double ballots? It's OK. Just fill out the second one, officials say | OregonLive.com.
Oregonians who get their first driver’s license or renew an existing one next year will automatically be registered to vote. Officials from the secretary of state’s office said Monday that they’re ready to begin implementing a law approved by the Legislature earlier this year. Beginning Jan. 1, people who are issued a driver’s license, are U.S. citizens and are old enough to vote will receive a postcard in the mail that lets them choose to join a political party or opt out of registration. If they don’t opt out within three weeks, they’ll automatically join the voter rolls and will receive a ballot in the next election.Full Article: Oregon on track to register drivers to vote next year | Local | Eugene, Oregon.
A new vote tabulation system in Multnomah County will “completely revolutionize the way we process ballots,” said the county’s election director Tim Scott. On Tuesday, the county unveiled the ClearVote system which will scan both sides of a ballot at once and then create an image. The system will also be able to count about 4000 ballots an hour instead of the current pace of 1000 per hour. If there is a questions over a voter’s intent, a bipartisan group will work to determine what the voter meant, and do it in a separate room.Full Article: Ballot scanner to 'revolutionize' Oregon vote tally.
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.Full Article: Credit Oregon with Hillary Clinton's Plan to Expand Voting Rights - Bloomberg Politics.
Do you like tracking packages when you buy things online? Try it with a ballot for May’s special election. Multnomah County will offer a service that tracks ballots and notifies voters whether they were accepted or rejected. Voters can visit a county website to receive text, email and phone messages. The pilot program will be offered by i3ballot at no cost to voters or the county. Participants will be surveyed after the election, said Tim Scott, Multnomah County’s director of elections. The pilot will track delivery from the county to the participant and the ballot’s return trip through the Postal Service. People who take ballots to drop boxes or specified locations, such as a library, will be notified after processing, Scott said.Full Article: Multnomah County voters can track ballot delivery in May | OregonLive.com.
House Majority Leader Val Hoyle wants to figure out how to give the growing number of non-affiliated voters a voice in the state’s partisan primaries. The Eugene Democrat said it’s an issue that is gaining urgency. The percentage of voters who don’t register by party has more than doubled since 1990, with 24.5 percent now registered as non-affiliated. In addition, under Oregon’s new motor voter law – which automatically registers people using driver’s license data – the number of unaffiliated voters is expected to rapidly climb in the next several years.Full Article: Should unaffiliated voters get a role in party primaries in Oregon? | OregonLive.com.
For more than a decade, voting rights advocates have been on the defensive. They’ve resisted one effort after another to restrict access to the polls, efforts that got new life following the Florida election fiasco of 2000, when a large black turnout almost (or maybe did) put Al Gore over the top in the Sunshine State, and that reached full force following Barack Obama’s election in 2008. Between the 2010 and 2012 elections alone, governors signed into law 23 bills that imposed constraints on voting, including requiring photo ID at the polls and curtailing same-day registration and early voting. While there have been defensive victories here and there, the resistance has been futile in many states and not helped by the Supreme Court, which in 2008 ruled in favor of voter ID laws and in 2013 gutted key elements of the Voting Rights Act. But now, at least in one state, the voting rights camp is on the offensive, and it’s hard to overstate what a pivotal turn that represents in the nation’s long-running voting wars. Oregon’s new governor, Kate Brown, the former secretary of state who took over following the resignation of her fellow Democrat John Kitzhaber, has made headlines for being the nation’s first openly bisexual governor, but the bill she signed Monday is far more significant.Full Article: Kate Brown and automatic voter registration: Oregon’s new governor has gone on the offensive in the voting wars..
Call it “motor voter” on steroids. New legislation signed into law today in Oregon paves the way for the state to one day have close to 100% voter registration. The new law takes the federal “motor voter” law to new levels and registers a person to vote when they obtain or renew a state driver’s license or ID – and it’s partially retroactive. The law dictates that once residents interact with the state DMV – whether to get a license or ID for the first time, or renew an existing one – they’ll become registered to vote if they aren’t already. The registration will be provisional for 21 days, during which time applicants will be notified of their new status and be given a chance to become affiliated with a political party or to opt-out of the voting process altogether. In essence, Oregon will now be the first state to approach voting with an “opt-out” mindset, as opposed to “opt-in.”Full Article: Oregon's 'motor voter' law to quickly increase voter registration | MSNBC.
Sweeping first-in-the nation legislation making voter registration automatic in Oregon was signed into law on Monday by Governor Kate Brown, potentially adding 300,000 new voters to state rolls. The so-called Motor Voter legislation will use state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters whose information is contained in the DMV system, with a 21-day opt-out period for those who wish to be taken off the registry. Supporters say the legislation’s goal is to keep young voters, students and working families who move often from losing their right to vote. Republican lawmakers, who unanimously voted against the bill, complain it puts Oregonians’ privacy at risk.Full Article: Oregon governor signs sweeping automatic voter registration into law | Reuters.
Oregon: Kate Brown finds a caretaker by appointing Jeanne Atkins as Oregon secretary of state | The Oregonian
Jeanne Atkins, a veteran Democratic aide and women’s rights advocate appointed by Gov. Kate Brown to be Oregon’s new secretary of state, said Friday that she won’t run in 2016 for a full four-year term in the office. Instead, Atkins, 65, will serve in a caretaker role in the state’s second highest office, leaving what could be a long list of candidates to battle over the position in next year’s election. Brown announced Friday that she would appoint Atkins to fill the remaining 22 months of her term as secretary of state. Brown ascended to the governor’s office last month after John Kitzhaber resigned amid an influence-buying scandal.Full Article: Kate Brown finds a caretaker by appointing Jeanne Atkins as Oregon secretary of state | OregonLive.com.
A sweeping voter registration bill that could add another 300,000 to Oregon’s voting rolls won final passage in the Oregon Senate on Thursday on a 17-13 vote and heads to Gov. Kate Brown for her promised signature. The so-called “New Motor Voter Bill” was promoted by Brown when she was secretary of state as a way to remove many of the barriers to voting, particularly for younger and poorer Oregonians who tend to move more often. Republicans, however, charged that using drivers’ license data to automatically register voters raised worries about ID theft and undermined the privacy of Oregonians. House Bill 2177 passed both chambers without a single Republican vote. The only Democrat to vote no was Sen. Betsy Johnson of Scappoose, who had cast the deciding vote against a similar measure that died in the 2013 session.Full Article: Sweeping 'New Motor Voter' bill clears Oregon Legislature on partisan vote | OregonLive.com.