Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
Indianapolis, IN - Today, Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced that the state's mailer designed to identify and remove inaccurate voter records is already helping to clean up the state's inflated voter rolls. The state now estimates the mailing will identify almost a quarter of a million more potentially inaccurate registrations than originally anticipated.
In an effort to clean up the state's voter list, Indiana's Election Division sent more than 4.3 million postcards to the addresses listed on every Indiana voter record. The mailing is designed to automatically return-to-sender all registrations that are no longer accurate. This postcard is to be followed by a second mailing designed to confirm whether the returned postcards truly are from inaccurate records. While initial estimates were that 675,000 postcards would be returned to the state, that number since been increased to approximately 800,000 and growing. Final returns may end up around one million potentially inaccurate voter registration records requiring a second mailing.
"Our need to process this massive number of returned postcards is exactly why we knew and tried to start this process earlier," Rokita said. "At the end of the day, we may see that more than twenty percent of Indiana's 4.3 million registrations are no longer valid. It is unfortunate that party politics delayed our ability to begin these mailings sooner."
After the Secretary of State's office initially identified more than 290,000 potential duplicate registrations from old county lists in its newly implemented statewide voter file system, Rokita called on state Democrats and Republicans to sign off on the mailer designed to clean up Indiana's voter rolls. Though state Democrats initially refused to sign-off on the plan, they eventually did so more than a month after the initial deadline and under the threat of litigation from the U.S. Department of Justice, which agreed with Rokita's proposal. Because of the delay, the timeframe for the mailings was greatly reduced.
Rokita notes that, though no action is required by voters for this first mailing, it is important to read any mailings from the state closely because a future postcard sent to some voters will require a response.
Rokita's plan follows the timeline prescribed by the federal National Voter Registration Act and gives inactive voters two notices and plenty of opportunity to let election officials know they continue to live at their current address and want to stay on the rolls. Every voter in the state has been sent a mailed notice containing election-related information. If this notice is returned undeliverable, a second notice is sent that can be forwarded on to a voter's new address. If the second notice is also returned as undeliverable, the voter registration is placed on an "inactive" list. An eligible voter can "reactivate" their status simply by voting in any of the 2006, 2007 or 2008 primary or general elections. If they do not, only then after 2008 will that registration be fully removed from the rolls.