Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

State News

July 24, 2012

Voting rolls need to be reviewed

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Retired state Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm didn't have to read the recent Pew Center on the States report on bloated voter registration rolls to know Indiana has a problem.

For 20 years, Boehm and his wife lived in the same house and voted at the same address in elections up to the 2011 primary. During that entire span, the names of the couple who sold their house to the Boehms back in 1991 and then moved to Texas remained on the voter roll as well, listed as active voters at the very same address they'd vacated years ago.

Boehm is a Democrat who cast the sole dissenting vote against Indiana's voter identification law when it was challenged in the state's high court two years ago.

The voter ID law was hailed by its Republican champions as a way to prevent voter fraud. But Boehm believes having error-filled voter rolls is much more problematic.

Past cases of voter fraud in Indiana haven't involved people showing up at the polls impersonating someone else, he said. Instead, they've involved absentee ballots, which don't require an ID, cast for voters who are dead or have moved away.

"I don't think voter fraud is a big problem in Indiana," Boehm said. "But if you're really concerned about it, that's the place to look."

Boehm isn't alone in his concern about the state's voter rolls.

Indiana faces both an inquiry from the U.S. Justice Department and a lawsuit from the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch on the issue.

Each has raised questions about whether state and county election officials are complying with a federal law that requires voter rolls to be cleansed of the names of people who are ineligible to vote because they've died or have moved away.

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