Putting our state on its best path forward starts with bolstering our democracy — and making sure that every Oregonian feels empowered to speak up and vote. Today we celebrate Oregon’s leadership in moving forward on this important path.
I’m proud to sign our paid postage and campaign finance reform legislation, further solidifying Oregon as one of the best, easiest, and safest states in the country for voters.
When we began the 2019 legislative session, I unveiled a robust defending democracy agenda that built on the incredible achievements our state had already made with vote by mail and our first-of-its kind automatic voter registration system, which has since been duplicated nationwide.
But while our vote by mail system is one of the most innovative in the country and has certainly increased voter access and participation, it was hobbled by something less modern: the postage stamp.
Today we make sure that everyone’s mailbox is a drop-box, at no cost to the voter. Many people who have disabilities, military personnel serving outside of Oregon, young voters, rural voters, and people on a fixed income have an increased disadvantage to accessing or finding postage.
When Oregon is on the forefront of ensuring that every eligible voter has a ballot, we must also ensure those ballots can be returned at no additional cost to Oregonians— and that the stamp does not serve as a functional barrier.
We also celebrate two bills that will have meaningful impact on campaign finance laws in Oregon. Across the country, and in Oregon, a wealthy few seek to unduly influence the electoral process. Moreover, this influence is mired in shadows as wealthy donors move money in ways voters are unable to track.
After the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United, Oregon saw record political fundraising, and the influence of dark money seeped into the electoral process. When we see the highest court in our country clear the path for big, dark money, people cry out and demand better.
This is something I’ve been working on for twenty years, and while my signature is not required for the referral, I will be excited to vote for it next fall.
“Defending Democracy” is not a mantra I developed; it is a mobilizing force for Americans across the country as they see our nation’s most sacred institutions threatened.
Oregon’s elections institutions are among the best in the nation, and we will continue to fortify and refine this infrastructure to ensure that every voice is heard.