Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean does not often get involved in Oregon legislative races.

But today the 2004 presidential candidate and former Vermont governor today took a shot at State Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) on Twitter

Here's Dean's tweet from earlier today:


At issue is Johnson's vote over the weekend on House Bill 3521, which could have increased Oregon voter registration by as many as 600,000. That's the number of Oregonians who are currently eligible to vote but not registered to do so. The bill, pushed by Secretary of State Kate Brown, the state's top elections offiical, would have automatically registered people when they got new or renewed drivers licenses.

Last month, Johnson told WW she'd likely vote against the bill. And in the legislative session's final weekend she stuck to her guns despite a massive lobbying effort by Democratic interest groups, who may have thought the measure would add to Democrats' existing 183,000 registration advantage over Republicans.

But despite that vigorous lobbying effort, Johnson joined all 14 Senate Republicans in voting against the bill and it failed, 15 to 15. 

Updated at 5:05 pm:

Johnson was undaunted by Dean's tweet.

"Everybody's entitled to their opinion," Johnson says."He's had opinions about lots of things including not prejudging Osama Bin Laden."

Johnson says nobody should be surprised by her vote.

"I cast a vote based on a deeply held personal conviction inculcated by my mother and grandmother," she says. "It is already so easy to register in Oregon. It's not unduly burdensome to ask people to register before exercising the great privilege of voting."