Governor Brown Highlights 'Defending Democracy' Agenda

Governor Kate Brown met with the Oregon Senate Campaign Finance Committee on Wednesday — outlining her strategy for bolstering voting rights in the state.

Posted: Jan 23, 2019 4:20 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2019 4:30 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Speaking before the Oregon State Senate Campaign Finance Committee on Wednesday, Governor Kate Brown outlined what she calls her "defending democracy agenda" — a list of policies intended to strengthen voting rights for constituents.

"Truly representative leadership and access to decision-making roles requires meaningful change to the status quo," said Brown. "We can't begin to address the status quo until we address the constitutional issues. Oregonians have time and again proven that they want campaign finance reform. It's our job as state policy makers to find the best way to accomplish it."

Brown's major points included expanding automatic voter registration, mandating paid postage on mail-in ballots, reforming Oregon's campaign finance laws, and increasing transparency on political expenses.

"It's time to make everyone's mailbox a drop-box — at no cost to the voter. And frankly, the stamp is a functional barrier for voters with disabilities or rural voters who may live far from any drop box — not just for those under 40 who think that ink and a stamp are body are options, not voting necessities," Brown said.

According to the Governor, Oregon was the first state to adopt automatic voter registration at the DMV, a development that she praised — however, she said, that system should be expanded to encompass all eligible citizens.

"We have so much to be proud of in Oregon. While other states are rolling back voting rights, Oregon has led the way," Brown said, referring to mail-in ballots and automatic registration.

Pivoting, Brown then addressed what she called the "wild, wild West" of Oregon's campaign finance laws, or lack thereof. Oregon has some of the most permissive campaign finance rules in the nation — allowing practically infinite contributions to political campaigns from individuals, corporations, and PACs with limited transparency to voters.

"'Defending democracy' is not a mantra I developed," Brown said. "It is a mobilizing force for Americans across the country as they see our nation's most sacred institutions threatened."

Brown suggested greater transparency for campaign contributions and expenditures, plus setting caps for those contributions. Brown cited her own recent gubernatorial race against Rep. Knute Buehler in 2018, which was the most expensive campaign in Oregon history.

"It costs more to run for office in Oregon than it does in Washington [D.C.]," Brown said.

The Governor said that she intends to see some of these changes represented in a constitutional amendment that would appear on the ballot in 2020. Constitutional amendments have to be ratified by popular vote.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

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Cases: 4852216

Reported Deaths: 71350
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148510526549
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3678574183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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