© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Oregon Senators Want Every State To Vote By Mail


Most states require voters to head to their nearest polling place each election, but since 1998 Oregonians have voted by mail. However, a new Senate bill wants to extend the practice to the rest of the country.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says the Vote by Mail Act will take the lessons learned here in Oregon and bring them to the rest of the U.S.

Merkley: "Every now and then a state tries something and pilots it and it works better than anyone anticipated and then that becomes an example for the nation to pay attention to. That is certainly the situation with Oregon's vote by mail system."

Merkley says if the bill becomes law it would counter act voter suppression tactics—such as changing the location of voting booths at the last minute and understaffing polling places which can cause long wait times.

The Democratic senator also says paper ballots ensure accountability.

Merkley: "If you have actual paper ballots like we do in Oregon that can be rechecked if anything is close, and can be easily audited, then you have a lot of integrity."

Opponents of the bill say they are concerned about fake ballots. However, Merkley says voter fraud is virtually non-existent.

Merkley says the vote by mail bill has been forwarded to the judiciary committee, but he does not expect it to advance while the senate is under Republican control.