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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.

Oregon Voters Would Retain 'Active' Status For Longer Under Rule Change

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson spoke surrounded by blank voter registration forms, which were meant to represent inactive voters.

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson wants to restore ballot access to some Oregonians whose voter status has been changed to "inactive."

The Republican announced Tuesday that he's going to allow voters to be considered "active" for up to 10 years after they last cast a ballot. That's up from the current five.

Richardson spoke at a state Capitol press conference surrounded by boxes of voter registration forms meant to represent people whose ballot access would be restored.

"This is a historic event,” Richardson said. “We're excited about being able to provide ballots to 60,000 or more Oregonians who are registered to vote who, without this change, would not have the opportunity to vote."

Registered voters whose status has been changed to "inactive" can have their ballot access restored by filling out a voter registration form online or at a county clerk's office. Richardson said he purposely did not seek a breakdown of the party registration of inactive voters, saying it wasn't relevant.

Some voters are considered "inactive" because they've moved out of state and have not canceled their Oregon voter registration. Richardson said the cost of researching the eligibility of inactive voters would be absorbed by his agency's existing budget.