State Spends $9.7 Million to Register Voters

Publication: The Oregonian

Author: Bill Graves

12/17/2009 - By one measure, the cost of Democracy in Oregon comes to $4.51 per voter.

That was the cost of registering voters in 2008, according to the first detailed analysis of a state's total voter registration costs by the Pew Center on the States.

The study, The Real Cost of Voter Registration, was released today and found state and local spending on voter registration added up to $9.7 million.


The single biggest expense was about $1 million to run and maintain the Oregon Central Voter Registration database, which is required by federal law and paid for partly with federal money.

"There is more money spent on voter registration than I thought here," said John Lindback, who conducted the study as Pew's senior officer for election initiatives. Lindback, Oregon's former state elections director, said the findings suggest Oregon will save money next year when it moves to a computer-based online registration system.

"We need to get out of the paper age and move into the electronics age," he said.

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