Oregon's first-in-the nation motor-voter program, which automatically registers to vote anyone who obtains or renews a drivers license (unless they opt out), has dramatically shifted the state's electoral statistics.
And the latest round of sign-ups, released yesterday by Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, would bring a smile to members of the party led by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.
The new numbers show that in the latest round, more newly registered voters elected to join the Republican Party than became Democrats.
In a state where Democrats hold every state-wide office, control both chambers of the Legislature and outnumber registered Republicans by nearly 270,000 voters, that's an achievement.
Unfortunately for Republicans, it's a small achievement.
Among the 124,912 newly elected voters announced yesterday, 3,455 chose to register as Republicans, while only 3,023 chose to become Democrats.
On June 10, for the second round of motor-voter signups, elections officials mailed a card to unregistered voters who had contact with the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles in 2014 and 2015. Voters were registered but not signed up with any political party if they failed to return the card. Obviously, only a small fraction elected to join either major party.
The earlier phase of the motor-voter signup, which took place between Jan. 1, 2016 and June 30, resulted in fewer new voters and proportionally more Democrats.
That's a big accomplishment for the author of the motor-voter legislation, Gov. Kate Brown, who wrote it when she was secretary of state, and it provides an untapped pool of new voters for candidates seeking to make Oregon—or even America—great again.