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Is it really too much for people who want to vote to show some interest first?

Secretary of State Kate Brown is pushing a measure in the Oregon Legislature, House Bill 2177, to establish an automatic voter registration system that would be activated by driver’s license applications.

If the bill becomes law, everyone who qualifies for a driver’s license will automatically become a registered voter, unless he or she opts out. They would have three weeks to do so.

We already have a system in place which makes voting about as easy as it can be. We can register online, vote by mail and never see the inside of a polling booth or the county clerk’s office. It’s almost ironic that it would take more effort to be unregistered than to be registered.

Information safe and secure?

Besides, what logical connection is there between driving and voting, except that the Department of Motor Vehicles has a massive database of personal information? And, of course, that information will be secure — right? After all, Oregon state government hasn’t had any mishaps with software, computers and databases since well, the last one, which was, let’s see, all the way back in 2014.

Cost for the change would be an estimated $753,445 in the 2015-17 biennium and $42,616 in 2017-19, some of which would be from federal funds that would normally go to help the Elections Division meet its other expenses.

Brown estimates it would add 300,000 voters to the rolls. Certainly, there should be no objection to increasing the electorate, provided people want to be added.

But what’s so terrible about asking people to show a modicum of interest? What’s next — filling out their ballots for them?


Editorial board

The H&N View represents the opinion of the Herald and News Editorial Board. Its members are Publisher Mark Dobie, Editor Gerry O’Brien and Forum Editor Pat Bushey, who wrote today’s editorial.

Community advisers to the editorial board are Tracey Liskey, Jeff Ball, Chip Massie and Ernie Palmer.