Will Oregon ‘Motor-Voter’ Law Increase Turnout at Polls?
It's been a pet project of then-Attorney General Kate Brown; last week now Governor Brown signed into law the nation's first automated voter registration law.
Often referred to as "motor-voter," this new law automatically registers drivers 18 and older to vote when they renew or get their first drivers license. It goes beyond the 1993 federal law that requires voting information be made available to people when they are renewing or getting a license.
Back in 2013, when Brown was Oregon's Attorney General, she pushed hard for the bill, but it didn't pass. Groups such as the League Of Women voters and others have pushed hard for the bill. Oregon votes by mail, and traditionally has high turnout, regardless of election off-years or peak years.
Opponents who voted against the bill said it could jeopardize the privacy of citizens of the data ever becomes breached, and say the additional accumulation of personal information could create more opportunities for hackers and identity thieves.
The bill automatically enrolls anyone 18-and-older as an Oregon registered voter, with a 21-day opt out period if they wish to not be a registered voter.
Those who are becoming registered voters for the first time will receive a postcard with information about voting; it will also renew current voters registrations when they renew their license.
But will it increase turnout at the polls? Critics say just registering people to vote will not necessarily make them more likely to engage in the political process. Brown took over for disgraced Gov. John Kitzhaber who resigned earlier this year amid several political scandals.
Only time will tell.