Brad Avakian, a candidate for Oregon Secretary of State, called for future same day registration despite substantive concerns from election officials and a determination that the system would not work for Oregon. Currently, the Oregon constitution also prohibits same day registration. Election officials have highlighted the cost and administrative headaches. Earlier this year, Oregon instituted automatic mandatory voter registration and remains an all vote-by-mail ballot state. The Bulletin reported the candidate’s position received criticism from a number of different quarters:
“In order to have same-day registration, there has to be some place where you can confirm that someone hasn’t already cast a ballot, you have to be able to identify which ballot they’re supposed to receive, and then you have to issue that ballot and give them an opportunity to mark it and cast it,” said Steve Trout, who was the state’s elections director under former Secretary of State Kate Brown, when she considered and abandoned the idea.
“The only places that can happen are at the county clerk’s office or at a polling place,” he said.
Some county clerks aren’t excited about the prospect.
“I think we have to learn from history and not repeat ourselves,” said Nancy Blankenship, the Deschutes County clerk and president of the Oregon Association of County Clerks. “The reason that (the 20-day cutoff) was implemented was it caused a lot of problems on Election Day, people coming in at the last minute.”