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Research: Oregon is easiest place to vote

Researchers from Northern Illinois University ranked states based on the time and effort it takes to vote under state laws.

PAMPLIN FILE PHOTO - Ballots returned to the Multnomah County Elections Department in 2016Oregon is the easiest state to vote in the nation, according to new research out of Northern Illinois University.

The state's vote-by-mail system and automatic voter registration make it easy and low cost to cast a ballot, the research showed.

The research was highlighted in Quartz digital business magazine Saturday.

Researchers examined the election laws of 33 states during the past six presidential elections. They ranked the states according to voting convenience, identification required, poll hours, registration deadlines, restrictions on voter registration drives and preregistration rules. With that information, they came up with a "cost-of-voting index." They found a correlation between higher cost in the form of time, resources and effort to vote and the lower voter turnout.

In 2000, Oregon became the first state in the nation to allow all voters to vote by mail.

In 2015, the state took another national distinction by passing the country's first automatic voter registration law.

Colorado ranked second to Oregon in ease of voting, followed by California. Mississippi, Virginia and Tennessee have the most barriers to voting, according to the research.