When Brown signed House Bill 2177 into law, she was building on the Beaver State’s history as a ballot-box innovator, which has led to high voter participation. Oregon was the first state in the country to switch to all-mail voting when Ballot Measure 60 was passed in 1998 by a wide margin. Washington state and Colorado later followed suit. “In my role as secretary of state, I proposed a new way of registering to vote,” Brown said as she signed the bill. “We call it ‘new motor voter.’ It was my top priority, and I am absolutely thrilled to be signing this into law as the new governor. … Virtually every Oregonian will be able to have their voice be heard.” Brown stepped down as secretary of state and was sworn in to Oregon’s highest elected office last month, after then-Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned amid scandal. As secretary of state — and even earlier, as a state legislator — she championed increasing access to the ballot box. “This bill is about making government work better, treating citizens as customers and giving them access to the service they expect,” she said Monday. “When someone moves to Oregon, why should they have to fill out multiple forms for multiple agencies? They should be able to complete one form, one time.” If you want to vote in Oregon, and you are legally eligible, you’re in. If you don’t want to vote, you’re still in. It’s all good. With this new law, we the people win. Maria I. La Ganga with the LA Times reports:
In front of a packed and cheering audience Monday, Gov. Kate Brown signed a first-in-the-nation bill to automatically register all eligible Oregonians to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or state identification card.Those who are registered through the new process will be notified by mail and will be given three weeks to take themselves off the voting rolls. If they do not opt out, the secretary of state’s office will mail them a ballot automatically 20 days before any election.
The former Oregon Secretary of State and Democrat, Governor Kate Brown, took office last month and has been a staunch advocate for voting rights and easy access to the ballot box. HB 2177 is proof and the bill will undoubtedly lead to higher voter participation. And isn’t that what Americans want? Myrna Perez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Project at the Brennan Center for Justice, calls the new law ‘groundbreaking.’
“Oregon takes it further than any other state by putting the burden on the government,” said Perez, whose organization is part of New York University School of Law. “Instead of asking voters, ‘Do you want to register to vote?’ they ask voters, ‘Do you not want to vote?’”
La Ganga’s entire story is a very good read. I’ll add one more newsworthy tidbit from her piece here: HB 2177 passed in both chambers of the state Legislature without a single Republican vote in its favor. Oh, my. Heads are spinning. Thank you, Governor Kate Brown.
Kate Brown inaugurated as new Oregon governor, pledges to ‘restore public’s trust’