Over the past few years, with strong leadership from Gov. Kate Brown–a member of Let America Vote’s Board of Advisors–Oregon has been on the forefront of passing pro-democracy legislation. It was the first state to introduce automatic voter registration and vote-by-mail. 

This session, Oregon Democrats enacted legislation (SB 861) to provide prepaid postage for all vote-by-mail ballots. Dem lawmakers also removed failure-to-vote as trigger for moving voter to inactive status (SB 224). The legislation also expand ways in which military voters can request absentee ballots. Thus, Oregon has removed even more barriers to voting to make elections more accessible

Oregon Democratic lawmakers also passed the Oregon Voting Rights Act (HB 3310). This important piece of legislation requires that people of color have “an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice” without having their votes diluted. This is a great step to make elections fairer for all voters.

Oregon Democrats also introduced an array of other pro-voter legislation, but were unable to advance the bills due to GOP opposition. The Oregon GOP did not put an emphasis on compromise or working together this session. Democratic lawmakers pushed to end prison gerrymandering (HB 2492), to lower the voting age to 16 years old (SJR 22SB 838), to improve election security (SB 542)

Some Oregon legislators have pushed for the establishment of an independent redistricting commission (SJR 11HB 2762) before 2021 redistricting. While Oregon’s current legislative map does not suffer from partisan gerrymandering, establishing an independent redistricting commission is important to ensure fair, democratic maps going forward is vital for Oregon democracy.