Expanding Automatic Voter Registration in Oregon

February 26, 2019

The Bus Project is an organization of young Oregonians working to make politics more accessible, equitable and innovative. It achieves this goal through leadership development, voter mobilization and issue advocacy. Thanks in part to Voqal’s support, Bus Project successfully laid the groundwork to fight for expanded automatic voter registration in Oregon and nationwide.

In order to expand on the success of automatic voter registration, The Bus Project contacted all 36 county clerks in Oregon and had in-depth conversations with several of them. The county clerks that The Bus Project spoke with overwhelmingly agreed that automatic voter registration has been a huge success for Oregon and that it should become a model for other states.

In fact, one clerk, when asked what they would say to county clerks in other states considering automatic voter registration, went as far to say, “It’s awesome. If you aren’t doing AVR and vote by mail – what are you doing?”

Reaching out to these officials opened the door to future communication and learning, which has great potential to improve the ability of advocates to influence and achieve better outcomes around automatic voter registration and other election reforms in the future. The feedback of Oregon county clerks, nearly two years into the program, should also help inform advocacy in other states as they prepare to push for or implement automatic voter registration systems.

While great gains have been made in Oregon to advance voter access through initiatives like automatic voter registration, there is more work to be done. The efforts by The Bus Project to not only ensure the current reforms are being implemented effectively but also to lay the groundwork needed to advance further reform in Oregon and the rest of the United States is vital to creating the informed and engaged population envisioned by Voqal. We are proud to have supported this incredible work and look forward to continued efforts by The Bus Project to make voting easier for all Oregonians.