On July 19, Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 3291. This bill allows for ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and received no later than seven days after an election to be accepted and counted. Oregon will now join 17 other states that allow ballots to count if they are postmarked by Election Day.
These days, voter rights are under attack in our country. There have been 408 voter suppression bills proposed in state legislatures. At least 18 states have already enacted election laws that would hamper voting access, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
In contrast, Oregon has long been a leader in making it easier for people to vote. Oregon was the first state to adopt universal vote by mail and automatic voter registration. Last year, we added pre-paid postage on all Oregon ballot return envelopes.
Now we have another opportunity to increase voter access and participation. We will end the confusion about when you can put your ballot in the mail in time for it to be counted. Now, every Oregon mailbox is a ballot box all the way up to Election Day.
It is disheartening to me that the entire Republican membership of the Oregon House voted against this bill, including our own House District 1 Representative, David Brock Smith. Oregon voters are proud, committed voters, representing eight political parties. Surely each of these voters is deserving of every effort from our representatives to ensure their full participation in our electoral process. Exercising our constitutional right to vote should be easy, not hard.
I intend to exercise my right and privilege to vote in 2022. I will be supporting a candidate for House District 1 who will continue to ensure that Oregon remains one of the most progressive voting systems in the country.