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145,000 Oregonians to get automatic voter registration letters


Starting Friday, the Oregon secretary of state will implement the second of two phases of the state’s pioneering Motor Voter program. It will give roughly 145,000 Oregonians who had qualifying interactions at the DMV in 2014 or 2015 the opportunity to become automatically registered to vote.

“With the successful launch of Oregon’s pioneering Oregon Motor Voter program in January, we are ready to contact these eligible, but unregistered Oregonians,” said Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins.

“Even with Oregon’s record breaking turnout in May, not everyone who wanted to vote was able to. The Oregonians we are contacting today will soon receive an OMV mailer giving them the opportunity to become automatically registered to vote so their voice can be heard.”

Oregon is the first state in the U.S. to implement an automatic voter registration program. Phase I started on January 1, 2016 for eligible voters who interacted with DMV on or after that date, allowing the Secretary of State to phase-in the project with a relatively small number of voters to ensure the first-of-its-kind program was working as intended.

Starting January 10th, the Secretary of State will begin contacting eligible Oregonians with DMV transactions from 2014 and 2015, ensuring that the most reliable and up-to-date data is being used to contact potential voters.

“Part of the vision of Oregon Motor Voter, and the authority granted to my office by House Bill 2177, was to take steps to assure that Oregonians who established themselves as eligible for voter registration at the DMV in the two-year window before 2016 could be registered,” said Atkins. “On Friday we take that step by sending Oregon Motor Voter letters to over 145,000 voters.”

While the Phase II population was initially estimated to be over 250,000, May’s record-breaking primary election motivated many Oregonians to become registered voters. The 145,000 voters left in Phase II come from all parts of the state. In some counties, Phase II Oregonians could increase the number of active registered voters by 10 percent. Data on the number of cards being sent to each county canbe provided by request.

The next monthly report on the OMV program will be issued on Friday, the same date that letters will begin reaching mail boxes for “Phase II” of the program. The following report, to be issued on July 10th, will capture the Phase II population who register to vote, opt out of voter registration, or choose a political party.

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