SENATE COMMITTEE ON RULES

 

 

April 05, 2005                                                                 Location: WOODBURN HIGH SCHOOL

8:30 A.M.                                                                                                                     Tapes 39 - 40

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Kate Brown, Chair

Sen. Ted Ferrioli, Vice-Chair

Sen. Frank Shields

 

MEMBERS EXCUSED:        Sen. Jason Atkinson

Sen. Charlie Ringo

 

GUEST MEMBERS:             Sen. Peter Courtney

Sen. Ryan Deckert

Rep. Betty Komp

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Tiffany Harris, Committee Administrator

Patricia Nielsen, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

SJR 10 – Public Hearing

SJR 11 – Public Hearing

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 39, A

005

Chair Brown

Calls the meeting to order at 8:40 a.m.  Opens as subcommittee.

Present:  Brown, shields, Sen. Courtney, Rep. Betty Komp

Makes opening remarks and welcomes visiting dignitaries.

Opens public hearing on SJR 10 and SJR 11.

SJR 10 and SJR 11 – PUBLIC HEARING

055

Tiffany Harris

Committee Administrator.  Presents overview of SJR 10 and SJR 11.

060

Bill Bradbury

Secretary of State.  Introduces himself and describes his statutory duties to oversee elections in the state.  Testifies in support of SJR 10 and SJR 11.  Suggests amendment requiring last-minute voters to register in person at an election office.  Explains how the three-week deadline was created and suggests it no longer applies.

125

Chair Brown

Clarifies that the events involving Rajneesh Puram took place in the mid-1980s.

130

Bradbury

Describes Rajneesh Puram community in central Oregon and their attempt to take over a nearby town with last-minute registered voters.

140

Sen. Shields

Adds that the former ranch is now a youth camp.

145

Chair Brown

Refers to election of Jesse Ventura as Governor of Minnesota.

150

Sen. Ryan Deckert

District 14.  Introduces himself.  Testifies in support of SJR 10 and SJR 11.  Submits written testimony (EXHIBITS A & B). Mentions six states with same-day registration that have significantly higher voter participation in elections.  Agrees with Bradbury’s suggestion to require registration in person.  Makes other suggestions for improving the system.  Discusses Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requirements.

215

Sen. Deckert

Continues testimony.

225

Sen. Courtney

Asks about current requirements to register to vote.

230

Sen. Deckert

Responds that registration must occur 21 days before the general election.  Discusses how it is affected by the vote-by-mail.

240

Sen. Courtney

Asks for other requirements for voting.

250

Bradbury

Describes other requirements.

255

Sen. Courtney

Asks if voters could come in from other states and vote on election day.

265

Chair Brown

Asks about fraudulent registration in states that allow same-day registration.

270

Bradbury

Responds there is no greater level of fraud in those states.

275

Sen. Deckert

Adds the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has studied the issue and found no evidence of fraud.

280

Sen. Shields

Asks about difficulty of traveling to a county elections office in larger counties.

300

Bradbury

Discusses the difficulties.

310

Sen. Shields

Asks about possible accommodation for citizens in rural areas.

320

Sen. Ferrioli

Discusses distance issues in eastern Oregon counties.

325

Sen. Deckert

Clarifies this simply adds the option of registering in the last three weeks but does not change other requirements.

350

Sen. Deckert

Continues and testifies in support of SJR 11.  Discusses other areas where 17 year olds pre-register.  Discusses importance of participation in the democratic process.

370

Annette Newingham

Chief Deputy, Lane County Clerk; Association of County Clerks.  Testifies in opposition to SJR 10.  Submits written testimony and article discussing Election Day Registration (EXHIBITS C & D).  Discusses Rajneesh issue resulting in 21-day waiting period. Discusses problems with volume of last-minute registrations. Comments on requirement for length of residency.

TAPE 40, A

050

Chair Brown

Points out length of residency is a constitutional requirement.

055

Newingham

Explains that county clerks do not check for length of residency.

060

Sen. Shields

Asks about fraud among last-minute registrations.

065

Newingham

Explains process in Lane County.

090

Sen. Ferrioli

Clarifies that clerks do not check residency.

095

Newingham

Explains that the voter signs an oath.

100

Sen. Ferrioli

Suggests checking out the conflict.

105

Rep. Betty Komp

House District 22.  Asks about close elections.

110

Newingham

Responds there must be adequate time after election to certify the result and same-day registration would complicate that process  Continues and expresses concerns about SJR 11.  Comments on 17-year-olds registering to vote in primary.  Brings up other items on primary ballot and how the ballots would be created.

135

Andi Miller

Executive Director, Common Cause Oregon.  Testifies in support of SJR 10, and discusses unlikely voters. Asks for alternatives to get those 18 percent to vote.  Points out this statute can supersede the constitution. Suggests adding a check box for residency requirement on current voter registration card. Testifies in support of SJR 11, and relates that her organization is still studying the issue.

230

Daniel Zipse

Valley Catholic School, Beaverton.  Testifies in support of SJR 11.  Explains he assumes other adult responsibilities such as holding a job and wants to be allowed to vote.

245

Kalani Efstathion

Valley Catholic School, Beaverton.  Testifies in support of SJR 11.  Asks to be allowed to register as a 17-year-old in order to vote in the primary election.

260

Chair Brown

Asks if either will increase participation in the process.

265

Efstathion

Believes it will.

267

Zipse

Agrees.

270

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks if students should be able to pre-register for the draft.

275

Zipse

Agrees if students have the right to vote draft age should also be 18.

295

Elizabeth Redman

Youth Caucus.  Argues bright students should be engaged in the political process.  Testifies in support of SJR 10 and SJR 11.  Explains she lived in three states in the past year and discusses difficulty of registering to vote during a transition time.  Making the process easier benefits younger people.

370

Sonrisa Cooper

Youth Caucus.  Sophomore at Cleveland High School, 15 years old.  Testifies in support of SJR 10 and SJR 11.  Discusses constitutional right to vote.  Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT F).

410

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks for description of the accomplishments of the Oregon Bus Project.

415

Cooper

Discusses Oregon Bus Project and how the program helps people register to vote.

TAPE 39, B

005

Redman

Discusses further Oregon Bus Project and other Oregon Youth Caucus activities.

015

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks how many were registered through the Oregon Bus Project.

020

Redman

Defers.

025

Garrett Downen

Oregon Bus Project.  Testifies in support of SJR 10 and SJR 11.  Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT G).  Discusses activities of the project and other voter registration drives. 

070

Jennifer Yocom

Volunteer, Oregon Bus Project, Mobile Generation.  Testifies in support of SJR 10 and SJR 11.  Discusses importance of allowing 17-year-olds to vote for their candidate in the primary.  Comments on SJR 10 and the mobile generation.  Concedes clerks’ points and difficulties, but suggests technology can solve the problems.  Asserts that those with privilege and power sometimes do not want those without to participate in government.

130

Sen. Ferrioli

Comments bus project and asks who paid for the project.

135

Yocom

Responds that the project was funded by donations and fundraising.

140

Sen. Ferrioli

Inquires who was the largest donor.

142

Yocom

Replies that she would have to check records.

145

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks how many Republicans did the Bus PAC support, and inquires whether the Bus Project is truly bi-partisan.

150

Yocom

Clarifies that Bus PAC is not related to the vote registration aspect of the Bus Project.  States that the Bus Project supports both party candidates, but is issue oriented.

165

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks how many new voters were registered in the last election cycle.

170

Yocom

Defers to Secretary of State.

172

Sen. Ferrioli

Explains his district demographic as older, and more conservative.  Suggests that a program focusing on young people might disenfranchise older voters.

185

Yocom

Discusses urban-rural divide and desire to bridge that.  Explains that SB 910 is not about disenfranchising anyone, but increasing voter participation.

200

Sen. Courtney

Refers to Northbend and decreasing enrollment in rural high schools, as well as the increasing age of residents.  Asks about the mobile generation.  Describes how many issues are on the ballots and inquires how new residents know about the issues on the ballot.

240

Yocom

Acknowledges voting is a privilege which carries great responsibility.  States that the project will make sure young voters are well informed.

270

Chair Brown

Conducts question and answer period taking audience questions.

asks about whether this resulted in how close the last election was

275

Rachel Westrick

Inquires if the introduction of SJRs 910 and 911 was in response to the close presidential election, and the chance that young voters might have overturned the election.

280

Sen. Deckert

Recalls Mark O. Hatfield’s Motor Voter Act.

280

Sen. Ferrioli

Comments on voter registration drives in the last election cycle.

340

Ali Grassgreen

Junior , McMinnville High School.  Asks whether some senators want to prevent young people from voting democrat.  Suggests young Republicans could also vote.

380

Sen. Ferrioli

States that opportunity to register must be spread as wide as possible. Expresses concerns about level of maturity of voters.

TAPE 40, B

005

Chair Brown

Stresses how important it is for young people to become involved in the process and cast their votes.

011

Grassgreen

Expresses that SJRs 910 and 911 afford great opportunities for youth.

015

Chris Hendricks

Woodburn High School.  Asks what the bills do for a town like Woodburn.

020

Chair Brown

Explains it will do nothing unless people vote.

030

Rep. Komp

Responds that she hopes the bills will increase voter participation among young people. 

040

Chair Brown

Suggests legislative conversations would be different if legislators were younger.

045

Andrew Hall

Volunteer for voter registration.  Testifies in support of SJR 10 and SJR 11.  Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT H).  Supports giving voting rights to Oregonians who missed the registration deadline in the flurry of moving here.  States that young voters should have a chance to elect candidates in primaries if they can vote in the general election.

070

Marge Easley

League of Women voters of Oregon.  Testifies in opposition to SJR 10.  Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT I).  Expresses concerns about burdens placed on county elections workers.  Suggests compromises.  Offers to register voters today. 

090

Chair Brown

Assigns Sen. Deckert to do a workgroup on SJR 10 and SJR 11.

110

Meaghan Mayeda

Co-Communications Director, Portland State College Democrats. Organizer for Presidential election. Volunteer for voter registration.  Comments on being a young woman of color with low income.  Testifies in support of SJR 10 and SJR 11. 

140

Kento Azegami

Portland State College Democrats. Campus Organizer, for Young Voter Project.  Argues that people do not vote because they are not asked to.  College students have particular challenges because of the mobility of their demographic.  Expresses support SJR 10.

190

Morgan Cowling

Oregon Student Association.  Testifies in support of SJR 10 and SJR 11.  Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT J).  Explains how little time there is between beginning of school in the Oregon University System and the registration deadline.  Discusses statistics of voter registration and participation.

240

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks Portland State Democrats whether it would have been beneficial to invite young republicans to come to the hearing today.

245

Mayeda

Responds that she did not work with them, and the young republicans did not contact them about the hearing.

247

Azegami

States that news of the hearing came with short notice.  Comments that voter registration is not a partisan issue.

250

Chair Brown

Advises the committee staff did invite all the student organizations.

255

Mayeda

Explains that the PSU College Democrats voter registration drive was non-partisan.

260

Sen. Ferrioli

Asks about registering absentee voters in their home states.

265

Cowling

Explains they encourage students when they arrive to register at their university address as they are part of that community for two to four years. States that they encourage students to get invested.

270

Sen. Ferrioli

Inquires whether they advise students about one registration only, and possible violations of state and federal law for duplicate registrations.

275

Cowling

Responds they are careful about re-registering voters.

325

Azegami

Assures they did explain to everyone about other registrations.  Agrees on need to avoid voter fraud.

350

Chair Brown

Makes concluding remarks.  Closes public hearing on SJR 10 and SJR 11.  Adjourns the committee at 10:27 a.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A.     SJR 10, written testimony, Sen. Ryan Deckert, 2 pp

B.     SJR 11, written testimony, Sen. Ryan Deckert, 2 pp

C.     SJR 10, written testimony, Annette Newingham, 2 pp

D.    SJR 10, article “Election Day Registration,” Annette Newingham, 2 pp

E.     SJR 11, written testimony, Annette Newingham, 2 pp

F.      SJR 11, written testimony, Sonrisa Cooper, 1 p

G.    SJR 10, written testimony, Garrett Downen, 1 p

H.    SJR 10, written testimony, Andrew Hall, 1 p

I.       SJR 10, written testimony, Marge Easley, 1 p

J.      SJR 10, written testimony, Morgan Cowling, 7 pp

K.    SJR 11, written testimony, Garrett Downen, 1 p

L.     SJR 11, written testimony, Andrew Hall, 1 p

M.  SJR 11, written testimony, Morgan Cowling, 7 pp