Oregon’s voter registration program hit by software glitch

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s pioneering auto voter program, in which residents who interact with the motor vehicle division are automatically registered to vote, has hit a software speed bump. But the secretary of state says it’s being resolved.

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan said Friday that the Oregon Electoral Division discovered the software error that for the past six years had failed to pre-register some 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.

Nearly 8,000 eligible voters in Oregon did not have the opportunity to automatically become registered voters for the 2022 election.

The office said it was alerted to the issue by a voter who did not receive their ballot.

Fagan will ask county clerks to issue ballots to affected voters.

RELATED: Central Oregon ballot drop box locations for the November 8 election

RELATED: Congressional candidates from Oregon’s 5th district face off at forum in Redmond

Here is the press release from the Oregon Secretary of State’s office:

Salem, OR—On Friday, the Oregon Electoral Division discovered a software error that for the past six years has failed to pre-register some 16- and 17-year-olds when they have a qualifying interaction with the DMV. As a result, 7,767 eligible voters in Oregon – out of 2,976,195 registered voters – did not have the opportunity to automatically become registered voters for the 2022 election. The issue has affected voters for the past 3 cycles electoral.

Remedy: Secretary Fagan will direct Oregon’s 36 county clerks to issue ballots to voters affected by this issue. Only eligible voters for the November general election, who will be 18 or older on November 8, will receive ballots.

“Eligible voters not receiving their ballots in Oregon is unacceptable,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “As long as I am Secretary of State for Oregon, I will do everything in my power to ensure that no eligible voter is disenfranchised. My technical team has been working all weekend to resolve the software error discovered on Friday and I will be performing a thorough review of our systems to ensure that no further errors affect Oregonian’s ability to make its voice heard. in our democracy.

What is the nature of this software error?

When Oregonians have a qualifying interaction with the DMV, their information is automatically sent to the office of the Oregon Secretary of State where it is used to register them as voters or update their voter information. registration on the electoral lists. In May 2016, the Secretary of State’s office software that handles this transfer was poorly written and as a result it failed to pre-register 16- and 17-year-olds whose birthdays fall within the month following their DMV Interaction. The transfer software is separate from the Oregon Central Voter Registration (OCVR) database.

Who was affected?

17 years old (and 16 years old after January 1, 2018, when the pre-registration age was lowered to 16) whose birthday falls within one month of their interaction with the DMV. This represents a total of 7,767 voters who are otherwise eligible to vote in the 2022 elections. No other people are impacted.

What is the remedy?

The immediate remedy is to send a ballot to all voters affected by this error so that they can vote in the November election. Secretary Fagan is overseeing her first statewide general election and took decisive action to address the issue over the weekend.

Only eligible voters, those who will be 18 or older on November 8, will receive ballots in this appeal.

Secretary Fagan ordered the agency to conduct a thorough review of state systems to ensure that no legacy errors are still affecting voters.

How was this error discovered and what action was taken?

The Oregon Electoral Division was alerted to the issue by a voter who did not receive a ballot.

The issue was first discovered late morning on Friday, October 28. That afternoon, the secretary convened the Division of Elections and Information Systems leadership at the Oregon Secretary of State’s office to determine the number of voters affected. Immediately after the meeting, the Bureau began taking action to correct the problem. The president of the Oregon County Clerks Association (OACC) was briefed Friday evening, and Secretary Fagan met with the OACC executive committee on Saturday morning to present the solution and offer support to county clerks.

Ryan H. Bowman