Tuesday, January 18, 2011

84,000 Oregonians have used online system to register to vote, but no one there is interested in using an online system to sign initiative petitions

Since March 1, 2010, citizens of Oregon have been able to register to vote using an online system based on verifying their identity by using their Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registration data. Any Oregon resident who is a citizen of the United States and at least 17 years old can use this system, at: https://secure.sos.state.or.us/orestar/vr/register.do?lang=eng, to register to vote in Oregon elections.

According to Andrea Cantu-Schomus, spokesperson for the Office of the Oregon Secretary of State, 84,000 people have availed themselves of this opportunity since the system was activated.

Despite the ability of Internet technology to use a similarly-based system to validate citizen signatures on online petitions, also using their driver’s license data, there has been, according to Ms. Cantu-Schomus, “no record of interest in using this online system to sign initiative petitions.”

The European Union (EU) is in the process of developing a system to collect at least one million signatures in support of proposed pan-EU initiatives, including building an online signature-gathering capability for use in qualifying these initiatives. To hear an Etopia News interview with Bruno Kaufmann, President of the Institute for Initiative and Referendum-Europe, at: http://www.blip.tv/file/4583744.

Residents of Washington State can also use an online system to register to vote, available at: https://wei.secstate.wa.gov/osos/secure/Pages/OnlineVoterRegistration.aspx. Residents of Indiana can register online to vote at: https://indianavoters.in.gov/PublicSite/OVR/EligibilityAndIdentification.aspx.

There have been reports that the State of California is also considering a similar system, allowing resident citizen Californians to register online to vote using their DMV data, but a call to the Secretary of State’s Office in Sacramento seeking information about this had not been returned as this article was being posted.

The State Supreme Court of Utah ruled in September, 2010, that “electronic signatures are as valid as handwritten signatures in qualifying independent candidates who seek to get their names on the general election ballot,” according to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune.


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