(Update) Automatic (universal) voter registration fails by a single vote in the Oregon Senate


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

I posted about this legislation in Oregon last week. Automatic (universal) voter registration – Oregon leads the way.

Sadly, the legislation failed by a single vote in the Oregon Senate when a Democratic defector joined with Republicans to defeat the bill. The Oregonian reports, Oregon Senate rejects universal voter registration proposal:

Legislation aimed at adding hundreds of thousands of registered voters
in Oregon failed by a single vote in the state Senate on Sunday.

Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, joined with all 14 Republicans to
defeat a bill that would automatically register eligible voters when
they received new or updated driver licenses in Oregon.

Secretary of State Kate Brown had promoted House Bill 3521 as an ambitious way to remove barriers to voting and greatly increase voting participation in the state.

* * *

[Critics] said they feared the bill would lead to greater voter fraud in
Oregon and that anyone who cared enough to vote should take personal
responsibility for registering.

That latter point was crucial for Johnson, who has made it clear for several weeks that she opposes the bill, which had passed the House on a largely party-line vote.

"We ask so little of citizenship in this state and this nation," said
Johnson.  "It does not seem unduly burdensome to expect someone to
simply take personal responsibility for registering."

Sen. Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward, D-Portland, countered that the state
should do what it can to remove as many barriers as possible to keeping
otherwise eligible people from voting.

"The only purpose for registering to vote is just to determine that
you meet the eligibility criteria of being a citizen," she said, and the
motor vehicles division does a good job of doing that.

Currently, about 2.2 million people are registered to vote, about 75
percent of those who meet the eligibility requirement.  Brown has
estimated that her proposal would have added about 500,000 people to the
voting rolls.

Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland, changed her vote to
no when it was clear that the measure would not have enough votes,
producing a final count of 14-16.  Under Senate rules, that gives her
the ability to try to revive the bill for another vote.

It really sucks when a Democrat just doesn't get it. Sen. Betsy Johnson's reason is a lame-ass excuse to maintain a 19th Century voter registration system in this country designed to limit the number of voters,  when the rest of the industrialized world is moving towards universal voter registration designed to extend the franchise to all qualified citizens.