Be watchful of OR voting laws
The integrity of Oregon’s voting system has changed in recent years and though many voters like the convenience of a mail-in ballot, I feel the integrity of our system was drawn down several notches with the change. That is not a reflection on our county elections office; however, they can only do their job in keeping with Oregon statutes covering elections and directives from Secretary of State Kate Brown.
As reported in the March 19, 2013 Oregonian, Ms. Brown is set to “…unveil legislation that would use driver-license data—and eventually—data from other government agencies to register citizens.” This would be automatic. She continues, “… and our goal is to get ballots in the hands of every eligible Oregonian.” So, non-voters need a little help registering, and she’s proposing that the state just do it for them. She is also reported to feel the 21-day registration cut-off is another barrier. Will removing that “barrier” be part of her proposal?
A visit to our county government offices shows many departments have had hours and the number of staff reduced or offices combined. Our commissioners have kept us informed about this process and progress (I’ve heard Susan Morgan speak on this several times). I’m not sure there’s a way around the registration deadline law, but if it were to happen, I can’t see how ours or any Oregon Elections Office could handle the type of pressure changing or removing that restriction would bring. Would the state provide funding for additional staff to deal with it? Doubtful.
Be alert to what legislation proposals are coming down the pike. Know who your representatives are and contact them for information. If you’re an elected precinct committee person, keep yourself informed and share information with voters in your area.