In 2015, Oregon passed the nation’s first Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) law, which was in use for the 2016 election. The program aims to modernize the voter registration system and simplify the voter registration process by assuring that every eligible citizen who interacts with the Oregon Office of Motor Vehicles has an up-to-date registration record and is able to vote.
New analysis by the Center for American Progress’ Liz Kennedy and Rob Griffin and voting experts Tova Wang and professor Paul Gronke provides the first demographic and geographic portrait of the impact of AVR in Oregon. It found that Oregon’s modern voter registration system had positive effects by a wide range of measures. Not only did AVR registrants make up 8.7 percent of people registered to vote and 4.7 percent of AVR voters in Oregon in 2016, Oregon’s AVR program was particularly successful at expanding the electorate. Oregon’s electorate is now more representative of the state’s population, since citizens registered through the OMV are younger, more rural, lower income, and more ethnically diverse. For example, 40 percent of AVR registrants and 37 percent of AVR voters were ages 18 to 29, even though they make up just 20 percent of eligible Oregon citizens.
In addition to strengthening democracy by expanding and broadening the electorate by removing structural barriers, AVR’s streamlined system can save states and localities significant costs and increase the overall security of the voting system.
Please join the Center for American Progress for a briefing call on the report detailing the resounding success of AVR in Oregon. During the call, CAP will review a new interactive map that brings Oregon’s AVR story to life by showcasing some of the communities that benefitted the most from Oregon’s secure, modern AVR program.