SALEM – Under the leadership of Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, Samsung has provided 10 tablet PC’s loaded with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system to be used by Oregon voters with disabilities. Windows 8 provides many built in accessibility tools and features as well as USB plug-in capabilities for accessibility-enhancing devices that can simplify the process of marking a ballot for voters with disabilities. The Secretary of State’s office is piloting the software in conjunction with this election.
“Our relationship with Microsoft is another example of my strong commitment to increasing access to the ballot,” said Secretary of State Kate Brown. “Specifically, in this pilot project Oregon voters with disabilities will be encouraged to test their own accessibility devices with the brand-new technology that should increase the use and confidence in our accessible voting system.”
Currently, all 36 Oregon counties have tablets available for voters with disabilities. Last fall Oregon became the first state in the nation to utilize tablet technology in elections. This latest pilot featuring the Samsung Series 7 PC tablets with Windows 8 will be used during the November General Election. Oregon’s Secretary of State and Microsoft Corp. will be working together providing technical support and feedback during this latest pilot.
“Oregon is a recognized leader in elections solutions. We are pleased to work with them in this first usage in the U.S. of a Windows 8-powered tablet for elections,” said Mark Wernet, Microsoft.
Oregon voters with disabilities interested in accessing tablet technology to mark their ballot should contact Don DeFord at Don.Deford@state.or.us or call 503-986-1518.
SALEM – Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown recently unveiled a new online Civics Tool Kit. The civic education curriculum was developed through a collaboration of efforts by local professors, teachers and Oregon elections staff. The goal is to provide a beginners guide to civics with an Oregon centric view that anyone can access and use.
Secretary Brown talks civics with McNary High School students
According to the most recent national civics examination, fewer than half of American eighth graders know the purpose of the Bill of Rights. In addition, only one in 10 demonstrated acceptable knowledge of the checks and balances among the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
“Democracies can only be sustained by citizens who have the basic knowledge, skills and dispositions – I think our online Civic Toolkit can help,” said Secretary of State Kate Brown. “As your Secretary of State and Oregon’s chief elections officer, it is my duty to engage Oregonians in the political process.”
The toolkit is made up of 10 lessons that cover everything from your rights and responsibilities as a good citizen, the history of voting in Oregon and what you need to know before you register to vote in our great state.
Secretary Brown rolls out the new online Civics Toolkit
After more than two weeks off for the holidays, students welcomed Secretary Brown to their Government classes to talk civics. The secretary unveiled the online Civics Toolkit developed by her staff, local teachers and professors. Students got a first look at the 10 online lessons which cover everything from how to be a good citizen to how to register to vote. Secretary Brown encouraged students to get involved in the political process and reminded the teens that here in Oregon you can register to vote when you are 17 years old.
Reflecting on the day, Brown observed: “These students were sharp. Many had a great knowledge of Oregon and its government. We hope they find the Civics Toolkit online, learn it and share it. Special thanks to teachers Jason Whiteley and Doug Parker for opening up their classroom. These guys do an excellent job!”
Keeping track of voter registration information is serious business as it is vital to insuring that our elections run as smoothly and securely as possible. Until recently each of Oregon’s 36 county elections offices had their own voter registration list. However, the Help America Vote Act, which was passed by the United States Congress in 2002, required that all states develop “a single, uniform, official, centralized, interactive computerized statewide voter registration list defined, maintained, and administered at the State level that contains the name and registration information of every legally registered voter in the State.” In 2006 our elections division did just that, putting together the Oregon Central Voter Registration (OCVR) database; and the system has born tremendous fruit. Where counties previously had problems with tasks like tracking down duplicate registrations, they can now access voter registration information across county lines through the OCVR database instantaneously in order to perform a variety of cross checking tasks.
In August of 2008 the State of Oregon and State of Washington undertook a pilot project, which sought to build on the success of OCVR implementation by comparing voter registration databases across state lines to check for potential duplicates. A fantastic overview of this Oregon-Washington pilot project written by the National Academies of Science can be found here.
On September 4th of this year, both Oregon and Washington sent out a letter (pictured below) informing voters that they may be registered to vote in both states. Attached to the letter is a short form that allows voters to indicate whether they were indeed registered in a second state and to cancel that invalid registration.
So far, about 7,000 letters – 4,500 in Washington and 2,500 in Oregon – have been sent to the matches who came up during the check, but if you have just registered in Oregon after being registered in Washington, or vice-versa, you may want to print a copy of the letter, fill it out and send it in to your respective elections division for them to insure you aren’t registered to vote in both states on accident.
This project will help us perform a key function; tightening up our voter rolls to make sure that they are as accurate as possible. It is just another way that Oregon elections is staying ahead of the curve nationally with innovative projects.
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The Oregon Secretary of State's blog seeks to provide a unique perspective on the agency's news, services and events.