Ore-gonna Get You To Vote

Oregon’s new Governor, Kate Brown, used to be Secretary of State and in charge of voting.  It makes sense that the first major piece of legislation that she’s going to sign is the state’s new automatic Motor Voter registration bill.

Sweeping first-in-the nation legislation making voter registration automatic in Oregon was signed into law on Monday by Governor Kate Brown, potentially adding 300,000 new voters to state rolls.

The so-called Motor Voter legislation will use state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters whose information is contained in the DMV system, with a 21-day opt-out period for those who wish to be taken off the registry.

It seems to me that this is brilliantly beating the GOP at its own voter suppression law game.  You want to protect the sanctity of the vote by requiring a state ID like a driver’s license to vote? Fine, then let’s make it so that getting a driver’s license gets you registered automatically. Naturally, Republicans are freaking out over this.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to voter registration does not work for our most vulnerable citizens that could be endangered if their personal information is suddenly made public,” Republican state Senator Kim Thatcher said in a statement.

Maybe Republicans should have thought about that before requiring a “one-size-fits-all” approach to making government information being necessary to vote in two dozen states. Yes, I know a Motor Voter bill like this will never pass GOP state legislatures because the whole point is to keep people from voting at all, but then again this kind of proves the point about GOP Voter ID laws being about suppression, doesn’t it?

Liking Kate Brown already, hasn’t even been on the job for more than a few weeks and she’s already making a difference.






51 replies
  1. 1
    Germy Shoemangler says:

    But does the GOP really care if Oregon can vote? Is there a large population of those people for the GOP to worry about?

  2. 2
    Zandar says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: Supposedly the GOP keeps thinking, like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, that the state can be competitive for them.

    Also, census facts puts the state at 12% Latino and 2% African-American.

  3. 3
    Derelict says:

    Information in the DMV’s computers has been secure for all of its existence, so the claim about people’s information suddenly becoming public is specious at best.

    There are two prongs to the GOP objection here. First, as noted, is the way to demolishes voter ID requirements. But the second element is that it is a government program that will work as intended and, even worse, it’s under the auspices of the dreaded DMV! After Republicans have used the DMV for decades as a shorthand for “fucking government!” it will really deflate their balloon to have the DMV doing something that everyone can recognize and use without lifting a finger or suffering any additional paperwork.

  4. 4
    Cervantes says:

    @Derelict:

    specious at best …

    … is practically the official Republican motto these days.

  5. 5
    RaflW says:

    So, just who are these most vulnerable citizens? I didn’t think the GOP admitted that any citizens are vulnerable (except libruls, and they’re not vulnerable, they’re just wimps).

    The GOP statement is transparently absurd scare-mongering. I can’t imagine that it persuades a single person.

  6. 6
    raven says:

    The anti anti-vax bill lost, no?

  7. 7
    RaflW says:

    @Germy Shoemangler: I believe eastern Oregon is pretty conservative, and those folks probably worry that old people in the big cities (who skew more GOP) will be terrorized by hippies and intimidated into voting for the Green Party if the old people’s addresses ever became know (since they are super-secret now).

    Of course said hippies, out biking madly as they are wont to do, could just happen to spy an old out getting their newspaper off the lawn. So vulnerable! So old! So possibly maybe addled enough by Fox to vote GOP. We must protect them from mythological cyber daemons … and tofu lovers armed with pamphlets.

  8. 8
    'Niques says:

    @RaflW: Well, then, fearful eastern Oregon residents who don’t like the new law can promptly opt-out of registration with the simple postcard. Problem solved.

  9. 9
    Redshift says:

    Even more than usual, it’s obvious they’ve got nothing when they’re trying to fearmonger about… people’s names and addresses being made public on voter rolls. If they don’t telling to a letter declining to be registered.

    (It’s also pretty rich for “small government” types insisting insisting that government must “protect” these “vulnerable” people rather than giving them an easy way to do it themselves. But we already knew that “principle” was a scam.)

  10. 10
    H.K. Anders says:

    … because the whole point is to keep people from voting at all…

    The whole point is to keep certain kinds of people from voting at all, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

  11. 11
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    I hadn’t even thought about the fact that a driver’s license was one of the IDs the voter suppression laws demanded. What a great point.

    At first I thought that “most vulnerable” thing was the GOP feigning concern about people who don’t have a license. You know, the ones they don’t care about re voting. But that “reveal personal information” thing is baffling. I wish someone would ask exactly what information we’re talking about here.

  12. 12
    Bobby B. says:

    @RaflW:In Oregon,we’re like Tolkein’s Shire. Staying under the radar, living peaceably, and scratching our hairy feet. We don’t create big flashy news stories for pundits to analyze on primetime, just send quiet heroes like Jeff Merkley . And we smoke a lot of weed, or maybe that’s just some of us.

  13. 13
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Derelict: Indeed. And judging from the whinge:

    A one-size-fits-all approach to voter registration does not work for our most vulnerable citizens that could be endangered if their personal information is suddenly made public

    … you’d think they would have thought of that before they pushed Real ID, which while still relatively secure require so many systems’ interactions and so many different agencies’ involvement pushes the “secure” envelope significantly. In DMV’s defense, though, the horror stories of the Reagan years are mainly distant memories: the worst experience I had was in Virginia where, despite adhering to Real ID internally, they refuse to recognize other states’ Real ID verified identification (the clerk who finally helped me was prepared to be grumpy when I walked up, but I had her laughing by the time we were done).

  14. 14
    scav says:

    The Oklahoma House of Representatives can vote for a driving reform bill that replaces state-issued driving licenses with clergy-issued driving certificates. “GoD! is my OKed-pilot!”

  15. 15
    RaflW says:

    @Bobby B.: I’ve been to Portland twice, will be there again in late June (with about 6,000 Unitarians … watch out!). We’re looking forward to touring some of the Shire. Sans herb, as is our choice. But we are really quite excited to see some of this quiet, furry state.

  16. 16
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Real ID – the new identification standard required for a DL – requires proof of citizenship, proof of residency, and other supporting documents, most of which are supposed to have some level of security or confidentially attached. I’ve shown up with passport, SocSec card, prior DL, utility bill with proof of payment, deed/lease with cashed HOA/rent cheque, valid insurance card, and payroll stub, and nearly been turned away with all of those. If they were at all concerned with “the most vulnerable citizens” then they would have found a better solution than to demand one’s life story in officially-documented-print-complete-with-seals before they suddenly felt bad. A driver’s license is not the easiest thing to obtain, transfer or renew these days, and the challenges have very little to do with being able to drive.

  17. 17
    someguy says:

    I’m racking my brain trying to figure out how we can get more disengaged, disinterested lazy ass uninformed people to vote. Maybe if we registered people shopping in the snack aisle at the grocery, or buying cigarettes and big gulps – Free Voter Registration with Purchase! – at the 7/11.

    I guess it works out to our advantage at the polls but at some point I think the maxims of equity prevent us from cursing out the voters for being stupid, when our GOTV effort is largely aimed at getting out the people too lazy to register to vote. (I realize there are some instances where people are disadvantaged, but 40% of the country doesn’t know that Republicans control Congress or the Dick Cheney is no longer (or ever was) VP.

  18. 18
    Nicole says:

    @H.K. Anders:

    The whole point is to keep certain kinds of people from voting at all, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

    Gizmodo had a really interesting read a few months back about the founding of Oregon:

    http://gizmodo.com/oregon-was-.....1539567040

    Highlight:
    “When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the only state in the Union admitted with a constitution that forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there. It was illegal for black people even to move to the state until 1926. Oregon’s founding is part of the forgotten history of racism in the American west.”

  19. 19
    superdestroyer says:

    Does the change in voter registration change governance or policy in Oregon? Is it going to change who is elected in Oregon? Will it somehow change Oregon from being a one party state? Will it prevent the Democratic Party primary from being the real election in Oregon? Or it the push to have more people vote just a ploy to give more power to the establishment Democrats in the state?

  20. 20
    Cervantes says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    I’ve shown up with passport, SocSec card, prior DL, utility bill with proof of payment, deed/lease with cashed HOA/rent cheque, valid insurance card, and payroll stub, and nearly been turned away with all of those.

    Yikes. Why?

    (I’m assuming there was no “Kick Me” sign on your back.)

  21. 21
    Cervantes says:

    @someguy:

    Important questions — thanks.

  22. 22
    Cervantes says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I think the answer to your questions is this: Registering people to vote is a good in itself. In a democracy it is a minimum. It needs no (additional) justification.

    I’d argue the same in Alabama or Mississippi.

    Wouldn’t you?

  23. 23
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Cervantes: Backward iggerant hicks that aren’t prepared to recognize all the documents, and a still-new process that isn’t anywhere near as well-defined as it sounds. Leases are particularly difficult, since they actually have to read those; at least the other proofs aren’t so easy to dismiss. It really sux that I have to show up with my legal life in my pocket in one of the busiest bureaus in the area just to parade all the information in front of some total stranger hoping it will all be recognized. The passport, though, is a definite plus: they seem never to expect those. I’m starting to think that passports should be required identification: it would solve a lot of the “Turrrrrrists Are Coming Here And Getting Fake IDs” whinging, and once issued they’re darned hard to refute.

  24. 24
    AnonPhenom says:

    This could also be done on a federal level by auto registering 18 year olds to vote at the same time they get auto registered for selective service.

  25. 25
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Cervantes: SD is a known racist (at OTB) who is proud of his ability to “face hard facts” while squishy liberals talk about the wonders of “diversity”. Don’t bother.

  26. 26

    our most vulnerable citizens that could be endangered if their personal information is suddenly made public

    This is a shout-out to one of the GOP’s major voting blocks, the paranoid backwoods militia-man. Basically, the people who think Obama’s going to send the federal government to take their guns. They don’t want the government to know where they are because antichrist/armageddon/roving gangs of urban thugs/whatever their favorite conspiracy theory is. They’re still pissed that fifty years ago some government guy came and told them they had to treat negros like human beings.

    They’re not super consistent on avoiding the government, or anything else, but they appreciate hearing these reasons for fighting liberals.

  27. 27
    Cervantes says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Off-Track Betting?

    Over-Thirty Baseball?

  28. 28
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @someguy:

    I’m racking my brain trying to figure out how we can get more disengaged, disinterested lazy ass uninformed people to vote.

    They are not disengaged, disinterested, or too lazy. Most of them spend 6 hours a day just getting food on the table they spent 3 hrs keeping, 7 hours holding on to the roof over them, and 4 hrs traveling back and forth to do so.

    Being poor is really hard work and it takes 24/7 engagement that does not allow for disinterest.

  29. 29
  30. 30
  31. 31
    RaflW says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Does the change in voter registration change governance or policy in Oregon? Is it going to change who is elected in Oregon? [blah blah snip]

    In a federal system like ours, there is considerable value in having a state take the lead on a new state-level policy, especially something like voting, which has local, regional, state and national impacts.

    Right now in MN, we’re working the legislative session to try and get felons who are out on parole re-enfranchised. It actually helps us quite a lot that neighboring North Dakota automatically restores the right to vote on release from prison. Having model legislation that is already working in another state is very useful.

    I believe Minnesota’s same-day, at-the-polls registration law has been used as model legislation to try and advance this in other states.

    So, besides providing snark-fodder, what Oregon has done matters. Many of us who care about registration, turnout & voter engagement will look to the OR law as a big win.

  32. 32
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Conveniently, though, the prereqs for Real ID are at least as hard for that set to get as they are for the villians Real ID was supposed to inhibit – especially if they think their SocSec cards are the Mark of the Beast, and that RFID-equipped passports mean ATF and IRS can listen in on their conversations at home and that FBI can track their whereabouts.

  33. 33
    superdestroyer says:

    @RaflW:

    How can anyone claim it is a big win (for who?) when it will have no effect on policy or governance in Oregon and probably make for fewer competitive general election races and a higher re-election rate for Democratic incumbents.

    How can making the Democratic Party primary in Oregon more important than the general election be considered good when Oregon is a closed primary state? How does adding more people to the voter rolls help when the Democratic primary is the real election for most elected offices in Oregon and the Democratic Primary is closed to all but registered Democrats?

  34. 34
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Isn’t she half a lesbian or something?

  35. 35
    lige says:

    @sd If you want competitive elections maybe Oregon Republicans can offer a reasonable alternative instead of the warmed over Tea Party politics that they currently offer. It’s been downhill for the Oregon GOP since the Gingrich era but its entirely the fault of the party itself.

  36. 36
    chopper says:

    @superdestroyer:

    more people voting is way better than fewer people voting. we shouldn’t have to explain this.

  37. 37
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Automatic voter registration is the norm worldwide, as far as I know; at least, in most democratic developed countries there isn’t any such thing as having to register to vote, the government just takes care of that as part of the census or other forms of recordkeeping.

    What complicates it in the United States, I suppose, is that there’s such a complicated patchwork of state and local elections, for which eligibility needs to be determined. But I think a lot of it has origins in deliberate vote suppression as well.

  38. 38
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I was going to point out that the US is [cough] exceptional in that, unlike most other “nations”, it has been designed to be fifty separate countries attempting to operate as one; most other countries with a federal system apply federal solutions to their problems, while the US tries to apply state-by-state solutions and hope for enough similarities that there is a de facto federal consensus. It occurred to me in writing that statement that the push for Federalism from the GOTea has more in common with their Bircher anti-UN stance: they want the US out of the UN in a manner not unlike wanting their state out of the Union.

  39. 39
    rikyrah says:

    I think this is a good idea.

  40. 40
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @rikyrah: Therefore Rethuglicans and their vile toadies are against it. I’m looking at our new troll chewtoy.

  41. 41
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    yes, pooperdestroyer has scads of racist form. He doesn’t like the idea of “the wrong people” voting and is terrified that minorities will eventually vote to make white people illegal.

    Will it prevent the Democratic Party primary from being the real election in Oregon?

    What poops forgets (of course) is that Gordon Smith was senator until 2009, and before him Mark Hatfield held the office for 30 years. Of course, the Oregon Republicans elected to statewide office were good-government Republicans: Tom McCall cleaned up the Willamette.

    @Matt McIrvin:

    What complicates it in the United States, I suppose, is that there’s such a complicated patchwork of state and local elections, for which eligibility needs to be determined. But I think a lot of it has origins in deliberate vote suppression as well.

    What complicates it ultimately is Article I — “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof” — which, although it gives Congress explicit right to regulate elections, places primary control for elections in the hands of the several states. Which turns out to be a bad idea when lots of states don’t really believe in free and fair elections.

    In Canada, there’s a central voter database that’s provided to the provinces and updated to reflect changes of address.

  42. 42
    superdestroyer says:

    @chopper:

    How is having no effect on policy or governance “way better?” How is making the closed Democratic Party primary in Oregon the real election “way better?” How is making the establishment Democrats more powerful and less answerable to the voters “way better?”

    Encouraging everyone to vote in non-competitive general elections is pointless when the real election was the Democratic Party primary?

  43. 43
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Encouraging everyone to vote in non-competitive general elections is pointless when the real election was the Democratic Party primary?

    once again, pooperdestroyer is arguing facts not in evidence, because in his fetid imagination everything about free and fair elections involves Democrats and/or minorities voting themselves into tyranny.

    Fuck off, poops.

  44. 44
    Kropadope says:

    @superdestroyer: Perhaps near-universal registration will encourage lazy Republicans (but I repeat myself) to get off their asses and vote in Oregon elections.

  45. 45
    grandpa john says:

    @superdestroyer: move to SC then. Here it is just like you describe except change the Democratic to republican. You would love it here

  46. 46
    superdestroyer says:

    @Kropadope: Why would a Republican be interested in voting in the general election when there are no competitive elections. Either the Republican lives in an area dominated by the Democrats and thus every local election will be a landslide victory for the Democrats or the Republican lives in a red area where they will be voting for local Republican who have zero ability to influence policy or governance at the state level.

  47. 47
    superdestroyer says:

    @grandpa john:

    The Democrats have a plan for converting SC from red to blue: immigration, grow the public sector, grow entitlements, and lower participation in the private sector work force. The Democrats could also create discourage that discourages whites from marrying, having children, or purchasing homes.

    There are many ways for the Democrats to convert red areas to blue that does not require appeal to current Republican voters. There is no way for the Republicans to convert any blue area. Oregon is a good example of the future of elections: closed Democratic Party primaries that are the real election and a meaningless general election that just rubber stamps the results from the Democratic Party primary.

  48. 48
    chopper says:

    @superdestroyer:

    your tears taste fucking delicious.

  49. 49
    chopper says:

    @superdestroyer:

    because in a democracy more citizens voting is a good thing. it means the government is more accurately representative of the public.

    i mean this is 5th grade civics shit here, man.

  50. 50
    Kropadope says:

    @superdestroyer: How could a Republican help to make a difficult election competitive? Hmmmm…. How about voting?

    Maybe people would be more enthused to vote for Republicans if they didn’t spend all their effort giving away hard-earned taxpayer money to mooching oil companies and war profiteers. Maybe if they stopped turning a blind eye to the growth of monopolies and the robbery of average citizens by bad actors in the financial industry?

  51. 51
    superdestroyer says:

    @chopper:

    How does having more people, the least interested voter, vote for the Democratic Party establishment candidate change anything. If nothing changes along policy or governance lines, than having more people vote just means it is harder to change the current direction of politics and allows the establishment candidates to have more margin for screw ups and errors.

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