Oregon State Seal





For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Contact: Rep. Julie Parrish, 503-986-1437




SALEM, OR – A majority of House Democrats voted Tuesday in favor of HB 3521-B which has “irreconcilable” conflicts with federal privacy laws related to motor vehicle data according to Legislative Counsel. The measure requires state agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles to provide an individual’s data to the Secretary of State for the purpose of automatically registering them to vote. The conflict comes with federal code which prohibits a “State department of motor vehicles” from disclosing “personal information”. Once the data is passed to the Secretary of State, the data becomes publicly available.


“There are serious federal privacy problems with this bill and the responsible thing to do is slow down and work them out. Unfortunately, in their rush to create a centralized government data system, House Democrats have ignored the privacy of Oregonians,” said Rep. Julie Parrish (R – West Linn/Tualatin). “Now, Oregonians who expect their DMV data to be private will find out that data is in fact being sold by the Secretary of State.”


The legal opinion from Legislative Counsel stated that there are “apparent irreconcilable differences in federal law” which prevented them from “reaching a conclusive answer” on whether a citizens personal information passed from the DMV to the Secretary of State can be disclosed under federal law.


“This new law creates a mess for local election offices as well as the Secretary of State,” said Rep. Parrish. “They will have to maintain two databases, one for voters who register traditionally and whose data may be sold, and one for Oregonians who are forced onto voter rolls when they get a license at the DMV and whose data is federally protected.”


In 2001, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 2138 which codified the federal motor vehicle privacy laws into Oregon statutes. That legislation was sponsored by Governor John Kitzhaber and passed unanimously with 19 current Oregon Legislators voting YES. Additionally, Secretary of State Kate Brown, who was then the Senate Democratic Majority Leader, also voted to support DMV privacy laws.