- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Oregon’s leaders celebrated the first year of the state’s unique automatic voter registration system in the presence of bags of hazelnuts.

Gov. Kate Brown said at a Monday news conference that 270,000 Oregonians were registered to vote under the so-called motor-voter program.

She said more than 97,000 of them cast ballots in November.

Under the year-old program, Oregonians of legal age are automatically registered to vote when they apply for or renew a driver’s license or state ID.

So why the hazelnuts?

Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins said they represent Oregonians registered under motor-voter and that both hazelnuts and the registration program are Oregon icons. She said she hopes that other states adopt the voter registration program.

She said the nuts are on loan and that her staff isn’t going to eat them.

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