Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

State News

July 24, 2012

Voting rolls need to be reviewed

(Continued)

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The Justice Department says at 10 percent of Indiana's  92 counties have a higher number people on their active voter rolls than they do who are old enough to vote. Judicial Watch claims the problem is more widespread.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson acknowledged the state and county elections officials find it challenging and costly to keep voter rolls current. The same law that requires accurate voter rolls, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also makes it harder for county election officials to remove voter names.

They need a death certificate or notice from the state health department to take a deceased person's name off the roll, for example. They have to wait for a voter to miss two presidential elections before they can start the process of verifying whether that voter is still at the address where he or she registered.

"It's not an easy process," Lawson said. "And no one wants to disenfranchise a voter by removing them from the (voter registration) roll too quickly."

Lawson declined to comment on the Judicial Watch lawsuit, but she's clearly sensitive to the issue: She was appointed to the job only four months ago, after her predecessor, Charlie White, was convicted on election fraud charges of using his old address to cast his vote, after moving someplace else.

Error-laden voter registration rolls aren't just a problem in Indiana. In February, the non-partisan Pew Center on the States released a report that said the nation's voter registration rolls are in deep disarray. Pew researchers, using information collected from states' voter rolls, found that one in eight active registrations is invalid or inaccurate.

That includes about 1.8 million people listed as active voters who are dead, and another 2.8 million people with active registrations in more than one state.

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