HB2323 A stops misinformation

June 4, 2021

Reps. Julie Fahey (D-OR) and Jack Zika (R-OR) make the bipartisan case for Oregon House Bill 2323 A, which would help stop the spread of misinformation about the election process, voting methods, and ballot access.

The 2020 election cycle has led to a national conversation about election misinformation that is shaping Americans’ relationship with the democratic process. The spread of misinformation, playing out in a volatile digital media landscape, threatens to undermine voters’ confidence in our elections and ultimately hinders effective policymaking.

Misinformation in the public sphere, and particularly on social media, is a powerful driver of the concerning levels of voter distrust that we see across the country. The circulation of inaccurate election information perpetuates skepticism toward the political process, sows distrust in our elected officials and can hamper Americans’ ability to meaningfully engage in elections. 

This pressing issue motivated us to sponsor Oregon House Bill 2323 A, a measure that would make it illegal to knowingly spread misinformation about the election process, voting methods, and ballot access.

This bill, which recently passed the Oregon House of Representatives in a bipartisan 54-3 vote, will prohibit people from purposefully disseminating false information intended to mislead voters about election dates, ballot delivery deadlines, voter registration deadlines, voter registration methods, and ballot drop-off locations. These protections would apply to social media, traditional mailings and robocalls within 30 days of a primary or special election and within 60 days of a general election. It would also require a “non-official” label on voter pamphlets designed to imitate official election materials.

As members of a bipartisan group of 16 legislators sponsoring HB 2323, we are heartened to see the issue of election misinformation acknowledged on both sides of the aisle. This is a truly bipartisan problem.

When misinformation creates an environment of distrust and damages voter confidence, legislative bodies are less able to focus on solving problems and developing effective policies for their constituents. Without a healthy relationship between voters and their representatives, government cannot effectively champion the interests of the people.

Especially as younger elected officials, we feel it is our duty to help repair and preserve this relationship for future generations. This dedication to leadership is not new among members of our legislature. In 2018, Rep. Fahey helped establish the Oregon Future Caucus — a bipartisan caucus for representatives under 45 years of age organized by the Millennial Action Project — which prioritizes generational issues just like this, to ensure a bright future for Oregonians, regardless of party. 

We believe that HB 2323 is an important step in safeguarding our electoral process and protecting the people most vulnerable to misinformation, especially those who may not have the resources to sort through a complex, confusing landscape of election information.

Along with our colleagues — Republicans and Democrats — we are working hard to protect Oregonians from attempts to mislead the public about our democratic processes and to ensure that governments at the local, state, and national levels are working for the American people.

As HB 2323 is considered by the Oregon State Senate, we urge passage and look forward to continuing bipartisan efforts to cultivate an environment of trust, transparency, and honesty in our elections.

Rep. Julie Fahey, D-West Eugene and Junction City, represents Dist. 14. You may reach her at [email protected] Rep. Jack Zika, R-Redmond, represents Dist. 53. You may reach him at [email protected]

Read this article on statesmanjournal.com >

Rep. Sara Jacobs


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