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Richardson using Facebook to reach inactive voters


Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson began a first-of-its-kind pilot program Tuesday, utilizing Facebook to reach Oregon voters listed as inactive and notify them that they need to update their registration to receive a ballot this November.

“Recent digital advances have created voter outreach opportunities never previously imagined,” Richardson said. “Facebook’s robust capabilities will allow us to communicate directly with inactive Oregon voters and encourage them to update their registration information to receive a ballot in November.

“We want to extend every opportunity for Oregonians who are eligible to vote to be able to vote.”

The video outreach features Richardson speaking directly to Oregon voters who have been listed as inactive, notifying them of their inactive status and encouraging them to update their registration to receive a ballot in the mail.

The announcement will run exclusively to residents on the Elections Division’s inactive voter list. Outreach began Tuesday and will run until the state’s voter registration deadline on Oct. 16.

“Consistent with Secretary Richardson’s emphasis on fiscal responsibility, the total cost of this innovative outreach effort is expected to be less than $5,000,” the announcement said.

This pilot program builds on the work that Richardson has done to expand online voter registration to additional languages and using phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

In April 2017, Secretary Richardson launched a major expansion of voter access in Oregon through an administrative rule change that protected the voting rights of more than 60,000 Oregonians who would have otherwise been classified as inactive and would not have received a ballot in the mail.

Richardson also used Facebook’s livestream feature earlier this year to announce preliminary results for the January 23 Special Election in a bid to engage younger voters.

“Maximizing voter participation and access while ensuring election integrity has been one of my primary missions since day one,” Richardson said in a news release. “Utilizing cutting-edge technologies to empower eligible voters isn’t just something we can do — it’s something we must do, if we’re serious about outreach.”

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