Oregon adds 34,000 voters under new 'Motor Voter' law

Secretary of state hails 'secure, simple, convenient' way for more to take part

SALEM, Ore. - The Elections Division of the Secretary of State's Office released the second cumulative report of the Oregon Motor Voter program Friday.

The data from the first three months of implementation show 34,410 new voters are in the process of being added to the rolls since Oregon Motor Voter was implemented on January 1.

Prior to Oregon Motor Voter, the average number of new registered voters each month through all sources was around 2,000 a month.

"These numbers are remarkable. For many of these new voters, the upcoming May election will provide their first opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote," said Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins.

"Oregon Motor Voter is working just as intended. The program is modernizing voter registration in Oregon and providing a secure, simple, and convenient way for more Oregonians to participate in the democratic process."

Friday's data report showed that through March 31:

  • 159,903 qualifying interactions at the DMV that were forwarded to the Secretary of State's Office. These interactions represent DMV interactions with customers that are eligible to register to vote (U.S. Citizens and 17 years old or older) who applied for a new or replacement ID, driver's license, or drivers permit.
  • In 68.5 % of those interactions, the person was already registered to vote.
  • Since implementation on January 1, 2016, the Secretary of State has sent 50,335 Oregon Motor Voter mailers to the DMV customers, giving them 21 days to opt out, select a political party, or become registered automatically as a non-affiliated voter.
  • Since last reported on March 10th, 2016, 18,908 new voter records have been moved to county clerks to add them to the rolls.
  • With 47 days of "mature" data (cohorts of cards where the 21-day window to return the Oregon Motor Voter card had elapsed), 34,410 Oregonians became registered to vote.
  • Of those, 28,374 records were sent to Oregon county clerks to be automatically registered as non-affiliated voters.  6,036 Oregonians chose a party preference.
  • 2,417 individuals chose to opt out of voter registration.

The report released Friday also includes data broken down by county and party affiliation.

Once an eligible voter engages the Oregon Motor Voter process by visiting the DMV, they receive a card and a pre-paid postage return envelope from the Oregon State Elections Office that allows the recipient to opt out of registration, choose a political party, or take no action and become automatically registered to vote as a non-affiliated voter (not a member of a political party). March data indicates that an increasing number of voters are returning OMV cards with party selections.

"Oregon's growing role in the national Presidential race is increasing awareness of the upcoming primary on May 17th," said Atkins. "Our county clerks are seeing a corresponding increase in voters choosing political parties, presumably so they can participate in a major party primary. I hope all Oregonians learn about their options for the May primary and make sure they are registered to vote by April 26th."

The fastest way to become registered to meet the April 26 deadline is to register online or at a county clerk's office.

Oregon election law allows for both closed and open primaries. Non-affiliated voters will not be able to vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries this May unless they register with said party. Non-affiliated voters may participate in the Independent Party of Oregon primary by either registering as a member of the IPO or requesting a primary ballot from their county clerk.

The next Oregon Motor Voter data report will be released May 10th. You can sign up for media updates from the Secretary of State here.

For more information on Oregon Motor Voter, please visit www.oregonmotorvoter.gov

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