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Kerianne Lawson and Joshua C. Hall
''Who should be behind the wheel? A study of Oregon's Measure 88''
( 2023, Vol. 43 No.4 )
In 2014, Oregon voted on Measure 88, an initiative that could provide driver cards to state residents without proof of legal presence in the United States. Measure 88 was the source of considerable public debate. Proponents argued for the safety benefits of reducing the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers. Opponents primarily argued that Measure 88 was bad for national security and would encourage illegal aliens to migrate to the state. Despite spending more money and having the support of numerous nonprofits, community groups, and the Governor, Measure 88 failed at the ballot box, obtaining only 34% of votes cast. We examine county-level voting on Measure 88 using a median voter model to better understand why this measure failed. Fatal crashes in the prior year were not associated with yes votes in a statistically significant manner. Employment in construction and average commute times were negatively associated with ``yes' votes. Counties with a higher average income, higher employment in agriculture, and more registered Democrats were more likely to vote ``yes.' While Oregon leans Democratic, over 34% of voters are not affiliated with any party. The failure to capture these decisive voters appears be the source of Measure 88's failure.
Keywords: undocumented workers; median voter; immigration; drivers license
JEL: H1 - Structure and Scope of Government: General
H8 - Public Economics: Miscellaneous Issues: General
Manuscript Received : Jul 11 2023 Manuscript Accepted : Dec 30 2023

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