To register to vote, go here:

sos.oregon.gov/voting/Pages/registration.aspx" class="auto" target="_blank">class="Toolbox_chatter">sos.oregon.gov/voting/Pages/registration.aspx

SALEM — Tuesday is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election. Voter registration will continue until 11:59 p.m., with last-minute voters able to sign up online.

Voters can also register in person at county clerk’s offices during business hours.

Getting registered and voting are ways to avoid ending up on the inactive voter roll. The Supreme Court recently ruled that Ohio could purge names of voters who didn’t vote and did not respond to attempts to confirm their addresses.

The 5-4 court vote in June has implications for Oregon, which is one of seven states to have a law on the books to remove inactive voters. Besides Ohio, the others are Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

But in Oregon, it’s a much slower process than in some of the other states on the list. It takes 10 years of no activity by a voter before they are dropped from the rolls. Activity includes voting or changing party registration.

The 10-year period is double the minimum stated in Oregon law. Secretary of State Dennis Richardson extended the time period in 2017 in order to try to get inactive voters back on the active rolls.

“We don’t purge our rolls,” said Deb Royal, Richardson’s chief-of-staff. “We routinely maintain our list. The Census gives us information. If someone passes away, the list is changed. We don’t wait for a massive purge.”

The state currently has about 2.7 million active registered voters. There are about 447,000 names on the inactive list, the overwhelming majority of whom the Secretary of State believes moved out of state.

Richardson’s office has identified about 40,000 inactive voters it believes are still in Oregon.

They are the target of an effort to connect with the lapsed voters via social media to get them to update their voter information. Richardson’s office cross-referenced the inactive voter list with Facebook listings and sent out a message to those it found reminding them to update their voter registration status.

Royal said 1,046 voters updated their status in time since the effort began in mid-September. The effort will go right up to Tuesday, the final day to register.

The Supreme Court ruling in June has intensified the national debate over voter registration rolls.

Under federal law, a state can’t purge a voter from its rolls simply for not voting. But they are allowed to take the name off the registration lists if voters don’t respond to confirmation notices. Oregon is among the seven states that have a mechanism on the books.

Nationally, civil rights activists have said the U.S. Supreme Court ruling will significantly affect low-income residents, especially minorities.

The Center for American Progress reported recently that while 79 percent of eligible voters who make over $100,000 a year are registered to vote, the number falls just below 60 percent for those making less than $25,000.

During the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Justice sided with the plaintiffs. After President Donald Trump took office, the department switched sides and backed Ohio’s defense of the law.

Election officials around the country say having accurate registration lists is important to running smooth, fair elections. Removing people who have died, moved out of state, or are in prison for felony crimes helps reduce opportunities for fraud.

“Properly done, efforts to clean up voter rolls are important for election integrity and efficiency. Done carelessly or hastily, such efforts are prone to error, the effects of which are borne by voters who may show up to vote only to find their names missing from the list,” Jonathan Brater, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program at New York University, wrote in a report earlier this year.

Arguing for the law before the Supreme Court, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco said Ohio had the right to clean up “bloated” voter rolls.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has said the state wants to “make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

The plaintiffs argued that choosing not to vote in every election should not trigger voter registration purges.

— Reporter: 541-640-2750; gwarner@bendbulletin.com . The Associated Press contributed to this story.

21488740