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In Oregon, Getting A Drivers License Could Soon Mean You're Registered To Vote

Neighborhood Centers

The number of registered voters in Oregon could soon increase dramatically.

The Oregon Senate gave final approval Thursday to a bill that would automatically register eligible voters when they get a drivers' license. The Secretary of State's office estimates the new policy will add about 300,000 new voters over the next several years.

Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward called the legislation "historic."

"Regardless of party affiliation, every single one of us, as elected officials, should want as many Oregonians as possible engaged as voters,” she said.

People who don't want to be registered voters will have about three weeks to opt out. Republicans said it's already easy to register to vote. They said they're concerned about the security of the data being transferred from the DMV to the Secretary of State.

The measure now heads to Oregon Governor Kate Brown, who says she will sign it.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.