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Oregon Republicans Unable to Vote in Primary after Being Sent Unaffiliated Ballots

The primary in Oregon on Tuesday saw several problems that left Republican voters scratching their heads. In Oregon's vote-by-mail-only system, voters receive ballots in the mail that are customized to the party to which they belong. In this year's primary, however, widespread reports have emerged that many Republican voters received ballots indicating no party preference — meaning that they were unable to vote in the primary for contested elections to nominate a Republican governor and legislative candidates. By the time many voters noticed the problem, it was too late to receive a corrected ballot.

Social media posts began popping up as Tuesday's election drew near. As more and more reports poured in, it became clear that it was more than an unverifiable fringe claim of voter fraud. Now, nationally syndicated talk show host Lars Larson and the Oregon Republican Party are sounding the alarm.

The error stems from Oregon's 2016 "motor voter" law, enacted by the Democratic majority in the legislature and implemented by Democratic interim Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins (now the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Oregon). The legislature passed the nation's first automatic voter registration system that registered everyone in the DMV database, as well as those who applied for hunting licenses, fishing licenses, or had other similar interactions with state agencies. At the time, public outcry about a citizen being registered to vote against his or her wishes was met with silence.

Larson, who hosts a local show from Portland as well as his nationally syndicated show, posted this on his Facebook page:

Well, it’s election day but a lot of Oregonians are finding out that they’ve been cheated out a vote in the primary election due to changes in the state voter registration system. Here’s what happened: Democrats decided to automatically register everyone who gets a driver’s license as a voter. Okay so far. Only the same rocket scientists in Salem who blew 300-million bucks on a failed health insurance website put a twist in the system. Let’s say you’ve been a registered republican voter for 30 years. You renew your driver’s license. Now, updating your driver's license shouldn't have any affect on your existing voter registration, should it? Well, the Oregon system automatically RE-Registers you as a new and unaffiliated voter...meaning you’re not a republican anymore. Then they send you a card in the U.S. Mail. If you don’t fill it out and pick a party you’re not a Republican anymore. It only matters in a primary election where without a party you don’t get a choice in races like Governor and Senator. Lots of folks are emailing and facebooking me...telling me they didn’t get a full ballot. And even though the flaw is the fault of the state...they’ll tell you there’s no way to fix it now. Gee, a system invented by Democrats that leaves Republicans out of a vote. Who'da thunk it? By the way, I'd like to gather as many examples of this kind of thing as I can, so if it happened to you, email [email protected]