An error in place for the past six years failed to pre-register nearly 8,000 Oregonians to vote, according to a release from the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.
The error has since been fixed and ballots are expected to be mailed later this week to ensure the 7,767 eligible voters affected are able to participate in the November General Election.
Discovery of the error was prompted by a call from a young voter, according to Ben Morris from the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. The voter had not received their ballot as they had expected after visiting the DMV when they were 16 years old.
Any Oregonian with a qualifying interaction with their DMV usually has voting information automatically sent to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office to register or update voter registration information. After looking into their records, the office discovered Friday that a software error had not triggered the process correctly for the 18-year-old as it should have, Morris said.
“In reviewing the software, that’s when they discovered the error in how it was written,” Morris added.
More specifically, the software at the Secretary of State’s office that handles the transfer was incorrectly written and failed to pre-register 16- and 17-year-olds whose birthdays fall within one month of their DMV interaction.
Leadership of the Elections and Information Systems Division at the Oregon Secretary of State’s office met Friday afternoon to determine the number of affected voters, the release said.
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A total of 7,767 voters who are otherwise eligible to vote in the 2022 election were affected, according to the release, and the error did not impact any of the other 2,976,195 registered voters.
The software error was a “very specific error” Morris said, affecting the pre-registration process but only if the individual’s birthday fell within one month of their interaction with the DMV.
Additionally, Oregonians who may have been impacted could have had subsequent interactions with the DMV or registered themselves online, self-correcting the error themselves without realizing there was a problem, Morris added.
“Eligible voters not receiving their ballots in Oregon is unacceptable,” said Secretary of State Shemia Fagan in the release. “My technical staff worked through the weekend to resolve the software error discovered on Friday and I will be conducting a thorough review of our systems to ensure no other errors impact Oregonian’s ability to make their voices heard in our democracy.”
The President of the Oregon Association of County Clerks (OACC) was notified Friday evening and Fagan met with OACC’s executive committee on Saturday morning to lay out the solution and offer support for county clerks, the release said.
Eligible voters will be issued ballots and the software was corrected on Saturday.