Expand access to voter registration

Graphic of colorful hands raised.

Most people have heard of The Voting Rights Act—a landmark civil rights law that lifted restrictions on eligibility to ensure that more Americans could exercise their right to vote.

Even after the Act became the law of the land—people who have historically faced barriers to voting, like people with disabilities, people of color, and people who live in poverty—continue to be shut out from opportunities to register to vote.

But another important voting rights law could help fix that.

Registering to Vote while Applying for Public Benefits 

Most people aren’t familiar with the National Voter Registration Act. Yet, it holds tremendous promise for making it easier for people with disabilities to register to vote. The Act requires some state agencies to offer voter registration services to people applying for the agencies’ services. That means, if someone goes into an agency to apply for public benefits, like food stamps or in-home services, they could register to vote right there.

Unfortunately, many states don’t follow the rules set out in the National Voter Registration Act. Some states don’t keep track of which agencies should offer voter registration. We found that, in Oregon, not all agencies were offering voter registration. We’re working to change that.

Grow List of Agencies Where You Can Register to Vote

We asked the Elections Division to update the list of agencies that offer voter registration. As a result, the Elections Division has proposed changing the rule to allow people with disabilities to register to vote at more state agencies. They proposed adding agencies that serve veterans, people with mental health disabilities, or intellectual and developmental disabilities. This could impact hundreds of thousands of Oregonians.

Submit a Comment on Proposed Rule Changes by June 26

To make a difference for the election this November, these changes have to be rolled out fast.

The deadline for submitting a comment on these proposed changes is June 26.

To comment on the rule change, contact Michelle Teed at elections.sos@oregon.gov.

Tell them:

  • You support more disability services agencies registering voters.
  • You would like them to implement these rules changes by October 16, the registration deadline for the November election.

 

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