Media Room

Remarks for NAACP Awards acceptance speech
September 15, 2015

As prepared

Good evening, and thank you so very much.

This is an extraordinarily unique and humbling moment for me. In my role as Secretary of State, I proposed a new way of registering to vote: New Motor Voter. As Governor, I signed my own bill into law.

And today, I stand before a group of people who truly understand the importance of civic engagement.

Over thirty years ago, Del Reilly, the clerk of Linn County, had a vision to make voting as convenient and accessible as possible by putting a ballot in the hands of every eligible Oregonian through vote by mail.

This bill will fully implement that goal by ensuring that virtually every eligible Oregonian will be able to have their voice be heard.

And every Oregonian is a beautiful thought: this bill, unlike any other voter registration drive, registers people regardless of race, gender or creed.

This New Motor Voter law will allow voter and party organizations to spend their resources educating and engaging voters—and learning what is important to this NEW set of voters – rather spending enormous amounts of time and energy on voter registration.

A big part of holding government accountable is civic engagement – exercising one’s right to vote. New Motor Voter is a big step forward to ensuring that our government is one that works for all of us.

Oregon is a true leader voter accessibility, I encourage every eligible Oregonian to participate in the process.  Furthermore, I challenge other states to examine their policies and find ways to ensure there are as few barriers as possible between citizens and their ability to exercise their right to vote.

Your vote is your voice, and every voice matters.

I want to thank the many individuals and groups who have worked so hard to not only pass this legislation but whose mission is to protect the right to vote; to educate voters; and to engage voters. 

Many of you here were a part of this effort. We achieved this together. And I thank you.

• League of Women Voters of Oregon
• Oregon Student Association
• The Bus Project
• Urban League
• The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon
• Oregon Voice