Automatic Registration Off to a Roaring Start in Oregon: Three Key Figures

Just two months after implementing automatic voter registration, Oregon is increasing the rate of new voter registrations four-fold.

March 10, 2016

Just two months after implementing automatic voter registration, Oregon is increasing the rate of new registrations four-fold, according to newly released data from the Secretary of State.

Here are some of the key numbers:

  • 15,502: The number of Oregonians registered since the new system went into effect in January.
     
  • 2,000: The approximate number of Oregonians registered per month under the previous system. This means new registrations are increasing nearly four-fold. (The increase could be even higher, because we do not yet have two complete months’ worth of fully-processed records.)
     
  • 30: The percentage of records transferred from DMV transactions reflecting an eligible, but unregistered Oregonian.

Oregon is the first state in the nation to launch an automatic voter registration system, in which eligible citizens who visit the DMV are registered to vote unless they opt out. Last month, Oregon first reported big early numbers for new voter registrations, and today’s data provides further confirmation: automatic registration is on pace to increase registration rates dramatically.

What’s more, a second feature of the law — a “lookback,” which will add eligible citizens who visited the DMV in recent years — is yet to be implemented. This will add even more voters to the rolls, and Oregon could soon have the highest voter registration rate in the country.

At a time when too many states are changing laws to make it harder to participate, automatic registration (which has also been passed in California) is a groundbreaking development. Here’s hoping more states follow this exciting lead.

Read more about how automatic voter registration works, and see the 27 states that are considering similar measures in 2016.