Sec. of State aims for accurate voter registration
Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson recently released results about the voter list refresh project, an attempt to update voter registration information throughout the state.
In June, the Secretary of State Election Division mailed nearly 756,000 postcards to Hoosier voters asking them to update their voter registration information after 4.4 million postcards were mailed in May. More than 47,000 voters participated, according to the Secretary of State’s office, and more than 450,000 were returned as undeliverable by the post office.
‘I am committed to protecting the voting process here in Indiana by making sure that each county has accurate voter registration lists,’ Lawson said. ‘We’ve been able to identify 731,585 records that either needed updating or were no longer valid. By updating these records or adding them to the inactive list, we are one step closer to getting a more accurate picture of voter turnout and protecting the integrity of our elections.’
In Harrison County, 2,868 registrations were found to be inactive, 104 were updated and 81 were canceled.
County election officials have been using the information from the voter list refresh to update Indiana’s list of voters. The counties take the mailings that identify inaccurate voter registration information and mark those voters’ records as inactive. To date, nearly 700,000 voter registrations statewide have been marked inactive. The processing of data from the initiative has ended leading up to the Nov. 4 General Election but will resume again after the election.
A voter on the inactive list can still vote in November; it only means a voter did not update or confirm their information. If the voter casts a ballot from that address in November, their record will be reclassified as active. If an inactive voter does not vote in November, they can still vote in the municipal elections of 2015 and the federal elections of 2016. If they do not vote in any election prior to January 2017, the county voter registration office will remove their record from the poll lists. If there is any discrepancy, there are electronic records of each card, and the counties will have access to the hard copies.
The project also will give Hoosiers a more accurate view of voter participation in future elections. When voter lists are bloated with inaccurate information, turnout statistics are artificially lowered. For example, if the voter registrations that Indiana moved to the inactive list were excluded from the overall number of registered voters used to calculate turnout for the May 2014 Primary Election, actual turnout would have been more than 17 percent, instead of 13 percent. In the 2012 General Election, Indiana would have had more than 71 percent participation instead of 58 percent. This would have put Indiana in the top states in the country for turnout.
‘I know there is still work to be done, but I wish to commend the counties for their cooperation and patience during this process,’ Lawson said. ‘Their experience and feedback will help guide us when the next voter list refresh is conducted in two years.’
All voters are encouraged to check their voter registration information online at www.indianavoters.com or at the clerk’s office (second floor of the courthouse in downtown Corydon) and update their information if necessary. Voters may contact the Secretary of State’s office with questions at 1-866-IN-1-VOTE, [email protected] or 200 W. Washington St., Room 201, Indianapolis, IN 46204.