It’s no surprise that Democrats in the legislature are about to enact a bill intended to vastly increase the number of voters likely to vote Democratic. The upshot is that Oregon’s one-party government will become even more firmly entrenched in the years to come.
House Bill 2177 will require the DMV to hand over to the secretary of state information on all holders of and applicants for driving licenses, including age, residence, citizenship and images of signatures. The information will be used to register as voters all license holders — and new applicants when they turn 18 — unless individuals opt out when notified.
This is estimated to increase the number of registered voters up to 20 percent or more than 400,000 in 2015-17. Many of them will be fresh out of high school, liberally trained in the issues of the day from climate change and recycling to transgender discrimination. Most will not be homeowners or property taxpayers, so raising taxes on homes and businesses should become easier. Most of these new involuntary registrants likely will not vote, but enough of them will to make a difference in otherwise close elections.
Secretary of State Kate Brown asked for the bill. The House Rules Committee has approved it 5-4, with Democrats in favor and Republicans against. (Among the yes votes was that of freshman Rep. Dan Rayfield from Corvallis.) The Ways and Means subcommittee on general government will hold a hearing and work session on the bill Wednesday. After that, its passage in the House is assured, and then it will sail through the Senate.
The voter registration system means, in theory anyway, that ballots are sent to citizens interested in voting at least as a matter of general principle. The new system will make sure that ballots go to hundreds of thousands of people who could not care less. That’s supposed to be good for government by the people, but it’s hard to see how. (hh)