Update: This post is based on a law that, while awesome, has been in place for one year. However we can report, via the Associated Press, that 4,300 new voters have joined Oregon’s registration rolls thanks to the new motor law.
In Oregon, state Governor Kate Brown is demonstrating what American democracy should look like by automatically registering anyone in the state with a driver’s license to vote. In the state, it’ll now be more work to opt out of registration than to register to vote. Can every state do this?
On Monday, according to the LA Times, Brown signed House Bill 2177, affectionately called the “new motor voter,” into law which follows the Pacific Northwest state’s original “motor voter” precedent, which has allowed residents to mail in their votes since 1998. (Voters can also mail in votes in Washington and Colorado.)
Brown has made increasing voter accessibility to all of Oregon’s citizens a priority since she was secretary of state, a job she held before becoming governor. The new motor voter law is expected to lift the state’s eligible voting numbers by 400,000.
“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.”
Folks who have gotten a new or renewed license or changed of address since 2013 will be notified by mail of their voting eligibility. From there, voters can decline, choose a party or ignore all of this progress—it’s completely up to them.
Naturally, not even one Oregon House Republican voted in favor of the new motor voter bill. They claim to be worried about privacy and Republican state Senator Kim Thatcher says the bill can somehow put victims of sexual assault and stalking at risk, though it’s unclear how. As Republicans in other states like Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida try their very best to withhold the constitutional right of so many to vote, it’s difficult to see their nays as anything more than toeing the (bad) party line.
Here’s Mos Def in 2008—we need a voting bonanza!
Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.
Image via AP.