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Federal Report: OR Breaking the Law on Voter Registration

July 16, 2007

Oregon is breaking the law. A new report from federal Election Assistance Commission shows Oregon and most other states are not following the National Voter Registration Act, which has been in effect for 10 years. States ignore the part of the law that says voter registration has to be offered at public assistance offices. Jo Ann Bowman with Oregon Action says the federal government's been focusing on purging voters instead.

"It is shameful that poor people and people of color are still being denied access to the voting system."

Bowman notes that Oregon Action actively works to register new voters-especially low-income Oregonians.

Michael Slater with Project Vote believes that states won't likely follow the law unless they're forced to, but that the federal agency that could do that has other priorities.

"The Justice Department has been on a real tear to try and purge voters, while at the same time, ignoring overwhelming evidence that states aren't doing enough to register voters."

Slater reports that only 59 percent of people in the lowest income categories are registered to vote, compared to 85 percent of the richest. He adds that gap was one of the reasons behind the law.

The complete report is at www.eac.gov.

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OR