06-18-2018  12:34 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Black Pioneers Host ‘Celebrate History and Make a Difference Now!’ Event June 9

Representatives from local organizations will talk about how individuals can get involved in promoting social change ...

Grants Pass man, 39, drowns in Rogue River

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The Josephine County sheriff says a Grants Pass man drowned in the Rogue River.Sheriff Dave Daniel says it happened Saturday afternoon when 39-year-old James Dawson tried to swim to shore after his watercraft quit working. He was not wearing a life jacket.Crews...

Some forest trails remain closed long after 2017 wildfire

IDAHHA, Ore. (AP) — Some trails in Oregon's Willamette National Forest remain closed due to damage from a wildfire that ripped through the area last year.The Register-Guard reports the Whitewater Trail into the Jefferson Park area remains closed. Other trails, including some in the Fall...

UW to pay 7K to settle Republicans' free-speech lawsuit

SEATTLE (AP) — The University of Washington will pay 7,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after the college billed a Republican club security fees for a rally.The UW College Republicans sued, saying the bill for ,000 to cover security costs for the campus event violated free-speech and...

Old farm warehouse may be saved as part of Hanford history

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — One of Washington state's most endangered historic places is located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland. That's according to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.The long warehouse along the Columbia River was once owned by farmers Paul and Mary...

OPINION

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Greece: 2 face racism charges over beatings of immigrants

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek police say they have arrested one suspected extreme nationalist and are seeking a second as suspects in a pair of attacks on immigrants in Athens.A police statement issued Monday said the suspects allegedly attacked two Pakistanis on Friday, stole a mobile phone...

Redistricting changes headed to the ballot in several states

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday on redistricting lawsuits in Wisconsin and Maryland comes as several states already are considering changes to the criteria and processes that will be used to draw legislative districts after the 2020 Census.In most places, the state legislature and governor are...

States' redistricting plans facing challenges in court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to block the use of legislative districts in Wisconsin and Maryland in separate cases that had alleged unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. Instead, the high court allowed lower courts to continue considering the claims.The cases are among several that...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: 'Jurassic World 2' leans on nostalgia, contrivances

Here's the good news: "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom " is more fun than "Jurassic World." It's not exactly a high bar, but still a welcome surprise. In the hands of a new director, J.A. Bayona, with Chris Pratt's high-wattage charisma on full blast and a fair amount of self-aware humor intact,...

'Incredibles 2' crushes animation record with 0 million

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The combined powers of superheroes, the Pixar brand and a drought of family-friendly films helped "Incredibles 2" become the best animated opening of all time, the biggest PG-rated launch ever and the 8th highest film launch overall.Disney estimated Sunday that the film...

AFI highlights Clooney's life of acting, activism and pranks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — George Clooney's Hollywood career spans more than three decades, with memorable roles including fighting vampires, playing Batman and drifting through space in "Gravity." But Clooney's other accomplishments, including directing, screenwriting and activism, led to him...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Puerto Rico struggles with jump in asthma cases post-Maria

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Shortly after he turned 2, Yadriel Hernandez started struggling to breathe....

Apple sets up iPhones to relay location for 911 calls

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is trying to drag the U.S.'s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the...

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA (AP) — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health...

Israel PM, Jordan king meet after months of strained ties

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan's King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have met after...

Geraldine McCaughrean wins Carnegie children's book prize

LONDON (AP) — British writer Geraldine McCaughrean has won the prestigious Carnegie Medal for children's...

Greek far-right lawmaker arrested on treason-linked charges

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek anti-terrorism police arrested an extreme far-right lawmaker on treason-linked...

Gov. Kate Brown signs motor voter law
Sheila V Kumar, Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Seventeen years after Oregon decided to become the first state to hold all elections with mail-in ballots, it took another pioneering step on Monday to broaden participation by automatically registering people to vote.

Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill that puts the burden of registration on the state instead of voters.

Under the legislation, every adult citizen in Oregon who has interacted with the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division since 2013 but hasn't registered to vote will receive a ballot in the mail at least 20 days before the next statewide election. The measure is expected to add about 300,000 new voters to the rolls.

"It just changes expectations for who's responsible for making elections work," said Barry Burden, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and director of the Elections Research Center. "In every other state it's the responsibility for the voters to make sure it happens."

Some other states have considered such legislation but none has gone as far as Oregon.

Minnesota nearly implemented automatic voter registration in 2009 before the plan was vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who said "registering to vote should be a voluntary, intentional act."

Similar concerns were raised by Oregon's minority Republicans.

"Simply because it makes us unique or makes us first does not necessarily mean that it actually improves on what we're doing," said state Sen. Jackie Winters, a Republican from Salem.

Oregon Republicans also voiced worry about potential voter fraud, the cost of implementing the measure, and whether the DMV can ensure personal information remains secure.

Information the DMV has on file, such as age, residential information, signature and citizenship status, will be transferred to the secretary of state, who will then automatically update registration information.

When it came up for a vote in the state Senate last week, all Republicans and one Democrat voted against it. The Democrats hold a 18-12 advantage in the Senate so the bill easily passed.

State Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, a Portland Democrat who carried the bill in the Senate, said there were rumblings the measure was a "secret plot" to enroll more Democrats. But she denied that was true.

Oregon already has one of the highest voter registration rates in the nation — 73 percent of Oregonians were registered to vote and 70 percent of them cast ballots during the 2014 general election.

Tony Green, spokesman for the secretary of state, said the legislation is expected to eventually capture all unregistered voters who are in the DMV database after taking actions such as obtaining or renewing a driver's license.

Two years ago, when the measure was first proposed, Green said there were questions about whether the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division records were confidential under federal law. The legislative counsel determined the secretary of state and the division could share information as long as it was for legitimate government purposes, he said.

People eligible to vote will get a postcard saying they've been registered and have three weeks to opt out. They'll be automatically registered as unaffiliated but can select a political party from the postcard and return it to election officials through the mail.

Automatic registration is not uncommon in other countries. A 2009 report by the Brennan Center for Justice says nations where the government takes the lead in enrolling voters have much higher registration rates. Argentina has a 100 percent registration rate, while Sweden, Australia and Canada all have registration rates over 90 percent.

Myrna Perez, deputy director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, said a state needs to already have reliable agency records of eligible Americans who have demonstrated citizenship in order to successfully follow in Oregon's footsteps.

Oregon only grants driver's licenses to people who can prove they're in the U.S. legally by presenting passports, birth certificates or other documents.

David House, a spokesman for the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division, has said the agency can separate citizens from noncitizens based on those documents.

Oregonians were the first to see all-mail elections, and the state has since been followed by Washington state and Colorado.

"Oregon is a true leader in accessibility to voting and I challenge every other state in this nation to examine their policies and find ways to ensure there are as few barriers as possible in the way of the citizen's right to vote," Brown said.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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