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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

After several failed years of effort to expand AVR, this past year the Oregon Legislature was finally able to make significant progress by expanding the existing AVR system to Medicaid offices. However, the Legislature remained unable to make strides towards ending felon disenfranchisement in the state. Nevertheless, because of its significant progress in expanding its best-in-the-nation AVR system beyond the DMV, Oregon received an A on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Oregon Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: Secure AVR
  • Online Voter Registration: OVR+
  • Same-Day Registration: No
  • Restoration of Rights: Prison Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: Vote by Mail
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: In-Person Absentee
  • ID Requirements: No Document Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Oregon as of 2022, we considered the state a top tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other top tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 1st
  • EPI Score (2020): 28th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 8/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): HIGH

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

The Oregon Legislature passed important legislation to make the voting process even more inclusive by authorizing Medicaid offices to automatically register individuals to vote when they sign up or renew health care coverage with the Oregon Health Plan.

  • HB 2107 expands automatic voter registration (AVR) beyond the DMV to the Oregon Health Authority.
  • SB 166 specifically guarantees all qualified voters the right to vote and the right to a secret ballot, and allows voters that will be out of the area when mail ballots go out to receive an early absentee ballot starting at 43 days before the election, among other things.
  • SB 1094 authorizes the secretary of state to apply for federal funds to establish a pilot project to provide live video feed of rooms where ballots are tallied and ballot drop box sites.
  • HB 2004 is a proposed ballot measure that would allow the state to implement ranked choice voting for all federal and state elections. Voters will decide whether to enact the new voting method during the November 2024 general election.
  • There is still more work for Oregon to do in future legislative sessions, as the Legislature failed to act on efforts to end felon disenfranchisement in Oregon. With the passage of SB 579, Oregon could have joined Maine, Vermont, and the District of Columbia as jurisdictions where an individual does not lose their voting right simply because of a felony conviction.

Implementation Action

  • Oregon helped provide the first impact analysis of what Medicaid AVR would mean for states with robust AVR systems at the DMV. A study by the secretary of state’s office found that SAVR at Medicaid would help the state reach 85% of the remaining unregistered but eligible population, helping to register hard-to-reach communities not covered by AVR at the DMV.