Target: Governor Kate Brown of Oregon
Goal: Applaud the governor for signing into law the United States’ first automatic voter registration bill
Conservatives across America have been working tirelessly to roll back crucial voting protections. In what many argue is an attempt to restrict the participation of minorities, young people and liberal voters these laws have trampled decades of progress in civil and voting rights. Bucking this trend, Governor Kate Brown of Oregon has signed into law the nation’s first automatic voter registration bill which officials estimate could add 300,000 eligible voters to the rolls.
The so-called “Motor Voter” bill will automatically register to vote all eligible individuals who apply for drivers’ licenses or state identification cards through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Roughly 20 days before an upcoming election these new voters will receive ballots in the mail; those who choose to have the ability to opt out. A report from the Brennan Center for Justice notes that several other nations already use automatic voter registration and, not surprisingly, also see greater participation in elections.
Such a progressive approach is a far cry from laws recently enacted in other states which serve to disproportionately restrict the poor and people of color from voting. While the Washington Post admits Oregon’s approach “won’t be perfect,” it is a giant leap in the right direction. Praise the state for empowering disenfranchised voters in a time when so many forces are working to silence them.
Dear Governor Brown,
With the passage of the “Motor Voter” legislation Oregon has shown itself to be a great ally in the ongoing struggle for civil and voter rights. Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians may soon participate in elections for the first time thanks to your support for the bill.
While the Constitution guarantees this crucial right, many people have never registered to vote or have been unable to maintain a consistent address. People struggling with poverty, young voters, seniors and people of color may not see their priorities reflected in their elected leaders in part because they had no say in helping to elect them.
It is my hope that your constituents will now see greater accountability in their politicians, and experience a deepened participation in the laws that govern their communities. No doubt other states will follow Oregon’s lead in implementing similar legislation. Thank you, Governor Brown, for your part in advancing voter rights in your great state.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Clipdude via Wikimedia Commons