There ain't no rest for the weary, especially when it comes to politics.
Today, the Oregon Student Vote Coalition, which put thousands of volunteer hours into getting youngsters to vote last election, is heading to Salem where members will continue lobbying for youth representation in politics. The coalition will be pressing for House Bill 2386, which would allow electronic voter registration in Oregon.
The coalition — a conglomeration of three grassroots organizations: the Oregon Public Interest Research Group, the Oregon Student Association, and the Bus Project —made some major progress in Oregon over the last election cycle.
In 2004, a study by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement found a 25 percentage point gap between Oregon voters 30 and older vs. those ages 18-29. In 2008, that gap shrunk to a difference of 10.3 percentage point difference between the two demographic groups.
Activists say HB 2386 would help make even greater gains among an increasingly wired youth population.
“Young volunteers and voters showed in 2008 that we want to play a big role in our democracy,” said Henry Kraemer of the Bus Project, via a media release, “To continue this trend, government needs to meet young citizens half way with structural changes like online voter registration.”
The bill would allow signatures that have already been collected electronically for licensing or ID purposes to also be used for voter registration.