Myth-Busters Edition: Was Your Voter Registration Secretly Switched by DMV?

It has come to my attention that there is a claim being circulated in Oregon that major party voters are disenfranchised through sneaky tricks at DMV.

The claim goes as follows:

  • An Oregon resident who is a member of a major party renews their license or updates their address at DMV
  • This resident is then re-registered to vote
  • If this resident doesn’t send the county their previous party registration within 21 days, it is claimed that they are automatically SWITCHED to Non-Affiliated Voter status, disenfranchising them from participating in their major party primary

Factual rating of this claim: FALSE.

Oregon’s Motor Voter law DOES NOT re-register active Oregon voters. Here’s what it does do:

First, it registers new voters who were not previously on Oregon’s voter rolls. Once a new voter has been automatically registered to vote, they are sent a card to select the political party they would like to join. If they have not responded within 21 days, these new voters will be registered as Non-Affiliated voters.

Second, it updates address information for voters who have moved. But, this does not change party registration.

In regard to a handful of current complaints, my office has thoroughly investigated these instances where voters claimed their party affiliation had been switched by DMV. In all cases there was another reason for their Non-Affiliated registration—in all cases but one, they had either personally registered as Non-Affiliated or never selected a party in Oregon to begin with. In one instance, a county elections office had accidentally miscoded a voter’s party registration in the electronic system. This has now been fixed.

One point of confusion may be for voters who have moved to Oregon from another state. Voters moving from another state would need to update their party registration in Oregon specifically to be a recognized member of a major party in the state.

If you want to ensure that you are registered with a specific political party, you can easily check and update your voter registration information if desired right now on the Secretary of State website.

One of the greatest threats to our democracy is the spread of misinformation about the integrity and security of our voting systems. I plead with each of you to do your part to limit the spread of misinformation and instead share the facts with your friends and family.

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