Salem, OR—It's election season, again. This time, however, you won't be overwhelmed with media ads and campaign mail like you were during the Presidential Election cycle. But I want you to know that the upcoming May 16 election is very important. It will decide issues in your local districts, and I urge you to make your voice heard by voting.
If you are not currently registered to vote, it's not too late to register. Visit oregonvotes.gov/myvote
to check your registration status. If you're not registered, do so today. Today is the last day to register for the May election. It's quick and easy, and you can do it on this same website.
Ballots have already been sent to our military members and overseas voters. The ballots for all registered voters are in the process of being printed and prepared for mailing. If you would like to know when your ballot will be mailed, visit oregonvotes.gov/myvote
. There you will find information regarding your ballot, and you'll be able to track it beginning the day it's mailed to you and continuing through the date it is received back at your county elections office.
VOTE! It's your right.
60,000 Voters' Access to Ballots Restored or Protected
On Tuesday, April 11, I launched a major expansion of voter access in Oregon. https://youtu.be/b6LIdjClC_Q
Each election, tens of thousands of Oregonians are not sent ballots because their voter registrations were moved to “inactive” status because they did not vote or update their registration information for five years. There are a variety of reasons why a voter might not vote for an extended period of time, including military deployments, attending out-of-state college, or dissatisfaction with the choices of political candidates.
Unless we do something, under existing law, by the end of November 2017, in this year alone more than 30,000 Oregonians will be put on “inactive” status causing them not to receive their ballots in the mail.
Prior Secretaries of State have interpreted language in ORS 247.013(6)(a) and (7)
as requiring voters to be moved to “inactive” status after five years of voting inactivity. However, the statutory language states that “inactive” status will come after “a period of not less [emphasis added] than five years.” Since the official policy of the State of Oregon is to maximize voting rights, I will honor that legacy by extending the time before voters are moved to inactive status from five to 10 years. This rule will protect more than 30,000 Oregonians who otherwise would have been moved to “inactive” status this year.
Additionally, it is estimated that when we cross-reference the DMV records of those who have already been placed on inactive status against the records of the Elections Division, more than 30,000 additional Oregonians will be able to be reinstated.
I want to maximize voter participation and access for registered voters, while ensuring election integrity. I also believe every Oregonian who is eligible to vote should be able to vote. Therefore, I've taken executive action and created a new administrative rule that will make it easier for voters to participate in the democratic process.
Thus, this rule will protect or restore the voting rights of more than 60,000 Oregonians who would otherwise be classified as “inactive” and not be mailed a ballot.