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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Automatic Voter Registration Yields Surge In Registered Voters

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Voter registration is surging in Oregon. The Secretary of State's office said Tuesday that nearly 300,000 new voters have been added over the past year. But the uptick isn't due to interest in the presidential election.

Most of the newly registered voters this year came via the state's new Motor Voter law. It took effect in January and it means that anyone who gets or renews an Oregon drivers' license is automatically registered to vote if they aren't already.

The new voters can opt out if they want, but relatively few have chosen to do so. The program has netted the state more than 230,000 new voters so far this year. That's helped increase the number of registered voters by nearly 14 percent since last year at this time.

Most of the new voters did not choose a political party. All told, just over a quarter of all registered voters in Oregon do not belong to a political party.