Oregon Senate rejects automatic voter registration

Oregon Senate rejects automatic voter registration
Visitors to the Oregon State Capitol look out from its dome on Saturday, July 6, 2013 as lawmakers work inside toward adjournment during a weekend session. The state's Constitution requires them to adjourn by July 13. (Steve Benham/KATU.com)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Senate has rejected a bill that would use driving records to automatically register people to vote.

The bill failed in a 15-15 vote Sunday following passionate testimony from lawmakers on both sides of the issue.

Sen. Jackie Winters, the first African-American Republican to serve in the Oregon Legislature, said automating the voter registration system trivializes the act of voting, a right her grandfather had to fight for. Republicans and one Democrat joined her in opposition, saying people who choose not to register to vote shouldn't be forced onto the voter rolls.

Democrats argued that the plan would eliminate barriers to voting.

Under the bill, residents who didn't want to be registered to vote would have the right to opt out.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.