Oregon Motor Voter Act FAQ
Starting Jan. 1, 2016 Oregon's new voter registration law, Oregon Motor Voter, took effect.
This law was created by House Bill 2177, passed by the Legislature in the 2015 Session and signed into law by Governor Kate Brown.
The program modernizes voter registration in Oregon and provides a secure, simple and convenient way for more Oregonians to be registered voters.
Under the old system, most Oregonians needed to take a separate step to register to vote at the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division (DMV) after obtaining or renewing their driver license. This new law will make voter registration automatic,
shifting from an opt-in process to an opt-out process. The new law eliminates the need to fill out the voter registration card. Instead, eligible Oregonians will receive a mailing from the Oregon Elections Division explaining their options for registering to vote.
What are the options?
With the Oregon Motor Voter card, you have three options:
Do nothing. You will be registered to vote as a nonaffiliated voter (not a member of a political party).
Choose a political party by returning the card. Joining a political party will allow you to vote in its primary elections.
Use the card to opt-out and decline to register to vote.
Will I be automatically registered to a political party?
No. The default is that you will be a nonaffiliated voter (not a member of a political party). The Oregon Motor Voter notification (OMV Card) you receive in the mail will give you the option of affiliating with a party.
What if I don't want to register to vote?
Opting out is simple. The Elections Division will send you information on Oregon
Motor Voter that explains your automatic voter registration options. If you don’t
want to be registered, just check the box on the OMV Card to opt out, sign it,
and drop it in the mail.
How long will I have to return the OMV Card?
You have 21 days from the date the OMV Card is sent to respond; otherwise you will be automatically registered to vote. However, you can unregister any time after that by contacting your county clerk’s office
in writing or in person.
What happens if I don’t want to be registered but I don’t return the OMV Card in time?
You can notify your local county clerk's office
in writing or in person at any time and request to be removed from the voter rolls.
What about people who don’t want to be registered for religious reasons?
The bill has a robust opt-out provision. Plus, registered voters can unregister at
any time by requesting that their registration be cancelled.
If a voter opts out will they be permanently out?
You only need to opt out once. We will not register you again unless you change your mind. If you change your mind, you can register to vote either online
, or by filling out a paper registration form.
Questions about Voting Security
How will the system ensure only U.S. citizens are registered to vote?
In Oregon, you must provide proof of legal status in order to obtain a driver
license or ID card. Under the new system, the Elections Division will only send out
OMV Cards to people who have provided documentation that they are U.S. citizens.
Aren't my DMV records private?
DMV records are not generally public, but they can be legally accessed by the police, private investigators, and other agencies for legitimate government purposes.
Federal law requires the DMV to take an active role in the voter registration process and the Oregon Elections Division has been obtaining DMV records for several years to
facilitate voter registration.
Will this put victims of domestic violence at risk by exposing their confidential information?
No. The Elections Division won’t receive data from victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking or human trafficking who have signed up for Oregon’s Address Confidentiality Program
. Victims’ information is separately coded in DMV and will be filtered out.
I don't want to be called for jury duty. Does registering to vote make that more likely?
Most courts pull from both DMV data and voter registration data to select jurors.
If you have a driver license or state ID, you are probably already on the list used
to select jurors.
What happens if I move?
If you change your address with DMV
, your voter registration information will be updated unless you decline at the DMV. You’ll be sent a
postcard at your new address confirming your voter registration information.
What about felons?
Felons who are not incarcerated are eligible to vote in Oregon. Nothing in the New Motor Voter Act changes that.