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Online Voter Registration Celebrates First Anniversary


One year ago Tuesday Oregon became the fourth state to offer voters the choice of registering via computer. There have been no prosecutions for online registration fraud since then — and about 87,000 Oregonians have used the system.

Editor’s Note

The original version of this stary stated an incorrect figure for the per-voter cost of a traditional registration transaction. The Oregon study by the Pew Center for the States found that it costs $7.67 per “paper” transaction to register. OPB regrets the error.

The online registration system cost the state about $200,000  with a promise from Secretary of State Kate Brown that it would provide a cheaper,  more secure and more accurate way of reaching voters — particularly housebound and elderly folk.

She says the promise has been kept.

Kate Brown: “The online registration saves time. It saves taxpayer dollars. We think it cost less than a $1 per transaction. So it’s a huge costs savings for Oregonians.”

In 2008, a nationwide study by the Pew Center on the States found that Oregon’s cost for registering one voter on paper is about $8.

Brown says that now, about 21 percent of voters go online to register.

Washington, which was the second state in the nation to use the system, is up to about 23 percent.

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