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Editorial: Accurate voter listings vital to election process


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Many of you recently received a postcard requesting updated information as part of a statewide effort to clean up voter-registration information.

All voting Hoosiers were sent postcards in May from the office of Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson. A second postcard will be sent to addresses that returned the first postcard as undeliverable.

The second postcard also can be forwarded if there is an address on file. There were 727,000 postcards returned from the first mailing.

“Each election, my office gets calls from widowed spouses and parents whose child moved away from home years ago,” Lawson said. “They want to know why we didn’t take their loved one’s name off the rolls. While many find it upsetting to see a long-gone loved one’s name on the poll list, it also undermines their faith in our elections. We must ensure that voters have confidence in the integrity of our elections.”

Hoosiers who do not respond to the second postcard with their current information by July 24 will be classified as inactive on the registration rolls.

But voters listed as inactive can still cast a ballot. An inactive voter who casts a ballot in any of the elections before 2017 will be moved to active status.

Federal law requires the state to maintain voter lists and perform voter-list maintenance, while state law requires that counties do voter-list maintenance.

The secretary of state’s office requested $2.1 million from the legislature in 2013 to pay for the postcards. The law requires that the postcards must have a uniform look and information. The office last tried to clean up the statewide voter list in 2006. But this will be the first in what will become an every-other-year schedule of voter-list maintenance, Lawson said.

Efforts like this are important to maintain the integrity of and to bolster public faith in the voting system. If people do not have confidence in the system, they are less likely to vote. And a lack of voter participation undermines democracy.

If you received a card from the state, act on it. If you want to confirm your registration, you can do it online at the secretary of state’s website, indianavoters.in.gov.

If you are not registered, you can get that information at the website, too.

Voting is a key responsibility for citizens, and maintaining an accurate and up-to-date list of voters will enhance the security of the system.

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