Oregon Secretary of State Fagan Outlines Legislative Plan
Fagan Outlines Legislative Plan: Shemia Fagan, Secretary of State, is advocating for increased funding for election monitoring and faster responses to records requests, as well as expanding automatic voter registration to include former inmates and Medicaid recipients.
On Thursday morning, Fagan sent a letter to legislators and held a press conference to outline her legislative agenda. She also wants millions more so that she can begin replacing the state’s antiquated campaign financing database, ORESTAR, with a new one and hire more people to investigate complaints about election law violations.
Secretary Of State Fagan Outlines Legislative Plan For Oregon
“Now is the moment, in my opinion, to reinforce what works effectively in Oregon elections while investing to make critical changes before the 2024 election,” Fagan said.
She stated that her office will fight any law that makes it more difficult to vote, such as one proposed by three Republican House members that would require voters to vote in person on Election Day unless they requested a postal ballot at least 21 days in advance.
Furthermore, two bills supported by Republican House members would require counties to have all absentee ballots in their possession by Election Day. Ballots postmarked on or before Election Day will be counted, even if they don’t arrive until a week later.
Republicans in the legislature have submitted at least three more pieces of legislation to place voters on “inactive” status or completely delete them from the registers if they do not show up to the polls or do not update their address every two years. “The right to vote is genuinely under threat in many parts of the country, and Oregon is no exception,” Fagan said.
Health Plan And Other Issues
She is spearheading legislation to assist the estimated 171,000 unregistered Oregonians who receive insurance through the Oregon Health Plan. When an Oregon resident applies for or renews a driver’s licence or nonoperating identification card at the Oregon Department of Transportation, they are automatically registered to vote under the state’s motor voter statute, which took effect in 2016.
Since then, Oregon has gained over 800,000 new voters, bringing the total number of registered voters to more than 93% of those eligible. Individuals enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan are already providing the information required for voter registration, such as their names, addresses, signatures, and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.
— Oregon Capital Chronicle (@ORCapChronicle) January 13, 2023
Under a trial program established by the legislation, inmates at the Powder Creek Correctional Facility would be eligible for a new state ID and voter registration. Despite the fact that parliamentary Democrats have once again introduced legislation to restore voting rights to those imprisoned for felony convictions, current law prohibits anyone serving a term from voting.
Fagan has stated that she will lobby legislators to provide her office with the personnel and resources it needs to implement campaign finance reform.
Legislators have stated their intention to pursue contribution ceilings and greater transparency in political spending, and Oregon is now one of only a few states that does not have such restrictions. If the legislature does not act this year, citizens’ organisations plan to take campaign finance reform to the people in November 2024.
In 2022, Fagan halted a similar initiative led by good governance organisations because the proposals failed to include the full text of the state statutes they sought to amend. Fagan has stated that she supports union-affiliated PACs and other types of “small contributor” PACs as a way to limit political contributions to candidates.
As Fagan put it, a million dollars from a single contributor is not the same as a million dollars from a million donors to a small donor political action committee. But let me be clear: whatever the Oregon Legislature decides, I will carry out to the highest standards on behalf of Oregonians.
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