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Motor Voter Boosts Voter Registration By 50,000


Election workers Louise Masog, right, and John Jones prepare ballots for counting at Multnomah County election headquarters in Portland on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

Election workers Louise Masog, right, and John Jones prepare ballots for counting at Multnomah County election headquarters in Portland on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

Don Ryan/AP

Ballot returns are strong for voters registered through Oregon’s new motor voter law, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

The program automatically registers eligible Oregonians to vote when they register with the Department of Motor Vehicles. An analysis done by the Bus Project, a group that advocated for the motor voter law, shows that young voters registered through the new motor voter law have so far returned ballots for the May 17 Oregon primary at higher rates than other voters.

Caroline Cowley with the Bus Project says the new law demonstrates that citizens want to engage in democracy.

“We think that the primary turnout results so far indicate that this will be a policy that will work in the long term,” Cowley said.

Since January, the motor voter program has registered more than 50,000 new voters in Oregon. Those voters are registered as unaffiliated with a party unless they return a mailing from the Secretary of State’s office registering for a party. Of all the voters registered through the new law 9,087 people chose to affiliate with a party.

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