BREAKING: Oregon Motor Voter Ballot Returns Outpace Peers

Oregon Motor Voter Ballot Returns Outpace Peers

PORTLAND – This January, Oregon launched Oregon Motor Voter (OMV), our nation’s first automatic voter registration system. OMV added 43,577 new voters to the electorate for the May Primary. On average, 808 eligible Oregonians register every day through automatic voter registration. Previously, Oregon registered an average of 2,023 new voters per month. With Oregon Motor Voter, our state is making great strides in getting a ballot into the hands of every eligible Oregonian.

Initial calculations of (unofficial) turnout of automatically registered voters signals success. Early analysis of returned ballots by age and party affiliation, demonstrate positive outcomes for voter participation for those who were registered through automatic voter registration (AVR).


Democratic Party

Republican Party

Independent Party


and minor parties


Traditional Registrant


Traditional Registrant


Traditional Registrant


Traditional Registrant


18 to 29









30 to 39









40 to 49









50 to 59









60 to 69



















The majority of AVR voters by age and major party voted at higher rates than their traditionally registered peers. Young people that registered with a party consistently out performed their traditionally registered peers. Young automatically registered Independent Party members turned out 9.5% higher and young Republican AVR members participated in the election at a 15.5% greater rate. Oregon has seen growth in unaffiliated voters of all ages for a number of year. It is the role of political parties in Oregon to educate and motivate the electorate in general about the value of affiliating with a party so there can be broader participation in primaries, regardless of their method of registration.

Nikki Fisher, Executive Director of the Bus Project noted, “The primary results show that Oregon Motor Voter is working to get ballots in the hands of more eligible voters. We believe democracy works best when all eligible voters have access to the ballot. We are excited to empower even more Oregonians this November.”


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Meet the newest member of our team: Daisy!

Name: Daisy Quiñonez
What high school did you go to: David Douglas HS, in East Portland ~ Go scotsmen!
Favorite democracy memory: Standing 3+ hours waiting to see President Obama at a the Convention Center when I was in high school and [almost!] shaking his hand. #sademojiface
If you had a dance party and could only play one song on repeat what would it be: Get Busy – Sean Paul
Who runs the world: Geminis
Anything else Bus Family should know about you: I was a Bus intern/volunteer when I was a high school student and I’m beyond stoked to be back on the Bus!
Daisy is a Chicana from Portland, OR and a graduate from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s in Planning, Public Policy, and Management. She got her first taste in advocacy and political organizing while in high school when she advocated for local youth policies as Co-Chair of the Multnomah Youth Commission and phone-banked and knocked on doors interning for the Bus Project. While at UO, Daisy worked on the 2012 Vote or Vote campaign and served as a Legislative Fellow with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon for the 2015 legislative session. She has also worked as a field organizer in a statewide ballot measure campaign and organized college students around the state around issues of public higher education. Daisy’s work is driven by a passion on racial justice, LGBTQ+ justice, reproductive rights, immigrant rights, and youth empowerment. When she catches some downtime, Daisy loves going to music shows, reading feminist lit by women of color, and building up her lipstick collection.
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Automatic Voter Registration is SERIOUSLY Working for Young People

Oregon Automatic Registrants Ballot Returns Are Outpacing Their Peers

PORTLAND – This January, Oregon launched our nation’s first automatic voter registration system. Since then, the program has registered 51,558* new registrants. On average, 808* eligible Oregonians register every day  through automatic voter registration. Before Oregon Motor Voter, Oregon average registrations by month was just 2,023 new voters. With Oregon Motor Voter, our state is making great strides in getting a ballot into the hands of all eligible Oregonians.

Preliminary data from the Secretary of State’s Election Division show the great success of Oregon Motor Voter. As of Monday, May 16th at 9AM, Oregon voters that were automatically registered mostly outperformed their peers in returning their ballots. In Oregon primary elections, voters are able to vote within a single party that aligns with their party affiliation. Comparing automatically registered voters to traditional paper registrants, automatic registrants are outpacing traditional registrants in their percentage of ballots returned when broken down by both age and party affiliation.

Republican automatic voter registration (AVR) registrants aged 18-29 have turned out to vote at 20.3%, while individuals not registered though AVR are voting at just 12.7%. Non-affiliated voters aged 18-29 show a similar trend with AVR voters turning out at 10% in comparison to 3.3% of traditionally registered voters.  Independent Party members of the same age range registered though AVR are turning out at 10% while traditionally registered Independent Party members are turning in ballots at the rate of 7.2% Democrats aged 18-29 have AVR voters turning out at 22.3% which is close behind traditionally registered voters at 25.3% turnout. As of March 31, just over 50% of automatically registered Oregonians were aged 18-35.

This election our state is on track to have over 1 million eligible Oregonians cast their ballots. This is the second time in the state’s history that we will hit this landmark. We encourage individuals who have not already done so to cast their ballot before 8pm tonight. You can find your drop box location at the

The Oregon Motor Voter Coalition is comprised of the state’s leading civic engagement groups with a wide range of participants including the state’s leading organizations working for immigrant & refugee rights, public employee unions, youth engagement, civic engagement, disabilities rights, reproductive rights, and more.

*Registration numbers as of April 30th, 2016

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#OrMotorVoter continued.

MSNBC had an incredible story featuring Oregon Motor Voter.

One of our favorite lines from all the stories: Automatic voter registration isn’t the sexiest way to start a political revolution, but it may be the most effective.


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Last minute things you need to know before you turn in your ballot…

It’s too late to turn in your ballot by mail. You have to drop it off at a drop box location. You can find out where your closest drop box location is here.

We have a voter guide! 

If you have any other questions, contact us:


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We have a lot of exciting stories to share around Oregon Motor Voter!

Author of Give us the Ballot, Ari Berman, posted a blog story.

Center for American Progress released a report showing the success of Automatic Voter Registration.

OPB is talking about the policy too!

Our very own ED had a TEDxMtHood Salon about it.

New York Times Editorial Board wrote a brilliant piece. (We are hoping our state paper takes a minute to read it too!)

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, was throwing down for Oregon last week too.

Linn County Clerk talks about how it’s working.


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Don’t know who to vote for?

We’ve got you covered.

We’ve got a resource guide for you! Here is it:

Got questions? Contact us at


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Did you miss America’s Next Top Candidate Forum?

Don’t worry. We got you covered.

You can watch the Secretary of State candidates here.

It was a hugely successful event. We do wanna say HUGE thanks to all the candidates who made this a priority. We also wanted to say biggggg thanks to the brilliant and thoughtful folks over at McMenamins for making it magical. Lastly, the candidates put a ton of time and effort into their talents, into their songs, and we appreciate you showing up, caring about engaging young voters, and making our democracy a little bit better.

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Vote by mail. Nationally.

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Today, The Oregon Bus Project joined Senator Ron Wyden and Governor Brown in the State’s Capitol to discuss barriers to the ballot. We’re proud of the leadership, legacy, and continued determination of our leaders in Oregon to fight for access so every eligible voter in Oregon has an opportunity to cast a ballot.

We are committed to ensuring young people have the resources and tools necessary to cast educated and informed ballots. We are also committed to fighting for access to ensure Oregonians can cast a ballot free from barriers.


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America’s Next Top Candidates

Listen, we’re not mad at Jules Bailey for pulling out of Portland’s only youth-focused candidate forum. We’re just disappointed. It’s disappointing when somebody running for office decides that young voters are a lower priority than taking the night off. We agree with him that the Blazers are awesome (we will all be watching the game after our forum ends), but we’re bummed when any candidate writes off the young voters who form the backbone of our progressive city.

In the over ten years that the Bus has done mayoral candidate forums, the next mayor has always been onstage. Of course it’s wacky. Portland is wacky. The next mayor will have to deal with far stranger stuff than a talent show or haiku debate. But these wacky things serve a real purpose – politicians can change their positions on policy, but it’s harder for them to change their humanity, which is what candidates reveal when they step outside of their comfort zone.

​And their humanity is what voters, especially young voters, long to connect with. ​

We honestly doubt Portlanders want to vote for a candidate who can’t laugh at themselves.

It’s true Nathan Howard is our C4 Board Chair, who is also Ted Wheeler’s deputy campaign manager. We have board members supporting all the major candidates for mayor. None of those board members are or were involved in any of our decision-making about the mayor’s race or this forum. We don’t want any particular candidate to be elected mayor; we want young voters to be treated with respect. Which is why we put on this forum – to show where the candidates stand on issues that matter to young voters.


To avoid any appearance of being​ bias​ed​, we worked directly with Jules Bailey’s staff on program questions and run of program.

Our candidate forum begins at 6 and ends at 8 (probably about 15 minutes after tip-off). We hope folks who come to the forum will join us after to watch their Blazers finish off the Clippers & head to the second round. One thing we’re learning from the Blazers this year, you can make it to the second round if you show up and play hard.
We’ve seen some people using a negative hashtags about Jules Bailey. We are not encouraging this. We are, however, encouraging our members and folks attending to use #ANTC16 to discuss the candidate forum.  Because, at the end of the day this is about making sure the youth voice is heard tonight, not any one candidate.
When: Tonight. Doors at 5:30 Show starts at 6.
Where: McMenamins Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan Street, Portland, Oregon 97209
Tickets available at the door. 
This year’s America’s Next Top Candidate features candidates for Secretary of State: Brad Avakian, Richard Devlin, and Val Hoyle and five candidates for Mayor of Portland: David Schor, Jessie Sponberg, Sarah Iannarone, Bim, Sean Davis, and Ted Wheeler will all be attending.
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