Secretary Of State, County Officials Clean Up Voter Rolls
August 12, 2014 — TheStatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – State officials have identified more than 700,000 voter records in Indiana that either need to be updated or made inactive because they are no longer valid.
Secretary of State Connie Lawson said the voter list refresh project – which has included mailing more than 5 million postcards to Hoosiers – is meant to make voting more secure and to provide a more accurate look at voter participation.
“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,” Lawson said in a statement about the project.
After the postcards went out in May and again in June, nearly 47,500 voters updated their registration information by a July 24 deadline. Meanwhile, more than 450,000 postcards from the second mailing were returned by the postal service as undeliverable to the listed address.
County election officials have been using the information to update their voter registration lists. That’s involved marking nearly 700,000 voter registrations as inactive.
Voters on inactive status can still cast a ballot in November – or in 2015 or 2016 – which will move them back to active, a status that still allows a voter to cast a ballot in November. If they don’t vote in January 2017, they will be removed from the registration list.
Lawson said current voter lists are bloated with inaccurate information, which artificially lowers turnout statistics.
Her office said that if the voter registrations Indiana has 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 voter participation instead of 58 percent.
That would have placed Indiana as one of the top states in the country for turnout, Lawson said.
In May, the secretary of state’s office sent postcards to all active Hoosier voters to identify outdated voter information. In June, the office sent a second round of forwardable postcards to voters whose first postcard was returned due to an undeliverable address, asking them to take action by confirming or updating their registration information.
Hoosiers who received a second postcard were asked to fill it out and promptly return it to the secretary of state’s election division.
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires regular voter list maintenance.
All voters are encouraged to check their voter registration information online at www.indianavoters.com or at their local county clerk’s office and update their information if necessary. Voters can contact the secretary of state’s office with questions at 866-IN-1-VOTE, firstname.lastname@example.org or 200 W. Washington St., Room 201, Indianapolis, IN 46204.