Group tries 'drive-thru democracy' to get driver cards on the ballot

Group tries 'drive-thru democracy' to get driver cards on the ballot

SALEM, Ore. – A group trying to gather enough signatures in an effort to put the new driver card law on the November 2014 ballot before it begins is using a cue from fast-food restaurants.

The driver cards will allow people to drive who can't prove U.S. citizenship.

The group, Oregonians for Immigration Reform, hoped that Friday's "drive-thru democracy" would make it convenient for voters to sign their petition, because they need a lot of signatures – more than 58,000 by Oct. 4.

So on Friday, not far off Interstate 5, several volunteers brought petition sheets to the drivers and passengers as they pulled into a parking lot at Market Street and Savage Road.

"Our main concern is that our government's role is not and should not be to reward illegal behavior," said Cynthia Kendoll of Oregonians for Immigration Reform.

When Gov. John Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 833 into law in May, supporters called it the biggest victory for immigrant rights in the state.
 
Luis Guerra of Causa, an immigrant rights organization in Oregon, said he disagrees with the notion that the new law rewards illegal behavior.

"I think it's a public safety issue," he said. "We should make sure that everyone that's behind the wheel, of any vehicles in the state of Oregon, knows the rules of the road."

The "drive-through" signature-gathering effort will continue until 8 p.m. Friday.

Leaders of the effort won't say how many signatures they have so far, but said they hope to collect about 500 Friday night.

If opponents of the new law fail to get the required number of signatures, the new law starts Jan. 1, 2014.

The driver card allows people to drive legally in Oregon as long as they can prove they've lived here for a year, and they pass the driver tests.

It's legal ID for opening a bank account, car insurance, or a gym membership. it is not legal ID for boarding a plane, registering to vote, or buying a gun.

Driver card holders also cannot drive big, commercial trucks.