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Indiana Prepares For Future Elections By Cleaning Up Its Voter Roll
Updated April 20, 2017 7:05 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - In 2014, Indiana began its latest effort to keep the voter registration lists accurate.

While removing inaccurate voter list information is required by federal law, this work was formerly done almost entirely at the county level and not all county voter registration offices had the funding to do this work on a regular basis. To ensure that voter list maintenance work was done uniformly throughout Indiana by all counties, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson asked the General Assembly to fund a comprehensive statewide voter list maintenance program. Under this program, current voter registration records are checked to confirm that voters still live at the address indicated on their record. Voters are also given the opportunity to update outdated or incorrect information on their registration records.

Thanks to the funding provided by the General Assembly, the nonforwardable postcards were sent to voters throughout Indiana in 2014. The postcards from this mailing that were returned to the Indiana Election Division with an "unknown or insufficient address" were used to identify voter registration records which could have outdated or inaccurate information. A second forwardable postcard was then sent to each of the voters whose first postcard was returned. The second postcard asked these voters to take action by updating their registration information. Hoosiers who did not update outdated voter registration information had their record at this address marked as "inactive". As a result, if these "inactive" records were not updated or if the voter did not vote from that address at any election held in 2014, 2015, or 2016, that registration record was canceled after the November 2016 general election.

Under federal or state law, no voter registration record is "inactivated" or canceled simply because a voter does not vote from that address for a certain number of years. Once an individual is registered, the voter's name stays on the list at that address indefinitely even if the voter never casts a ballot. The voter's name is only removed when counties receives information that the voter is deceased or otherwise disqualified, the voter request that the registration be cancelled or if the voter's address is identified as incorrect through the voter list maintenance process. If a voter is registered at the address where the voter now lives, the voter list maintenance process has no effect on the ability of that voter to cast a ballot.

"When I became Secretary of State, I discovered voter list maintenance was not being done statewide and many outdated voter registrations were still on the rolls," said Secretary Lawson. "I made it a priority to ensure our state's list was accurate and that we followed the federal law. While this federal law requires a slow process that has taken over 4 years, our state is finally in the rhythm of doing regular voter list maintenance and Hoosiers are starting to see the results. Updating these records will help us create a more accurate picture of voter turnout for the state, which has been reported as inaccurately low due to the large number of outdated registrations, while protecting the integrity of our elections."

To date, 481,235 voter registrations have been canceled through this process statewide. This number represents the voter registration records that were identified by the 2014 voter list maintenance process as inactive. The voter list maintenance process continues, both at the state and county levels. Another comprehensive address confirmation mailing was sent to voters throughout Indiana in 2016 to identify potentially inaccurate records for removal after the 2018 general election. County voter registration officials continue to do voter list maintenance work every day by updating voter registration information of voters who have moved, died or had a name change.

We can all be proud of the work which these county clerks and other voter registration officials do quietly every day to improve the election administration process.

Hoosiers who wish to register, update or verify their voter registration information can do so online at www.indianavoters.com.



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