Registrars try to clean up voter lists

Published 3:47 pm Monday, January 5, 2009

Secretary of State Beth Chapman has announced that the Boards of Registrars around the state, including Crenshaw County, have worked to publish lists of voters who need to update voter registration.

The list of Crenshaw County voters was published in the Dec. 18 and Dec. 25 editions of The Luverne Journal.

“The election may be over, but our work toward having the most accurate voter rolls possible in the State of Alabama definitely is not,” Chapman explained.

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The Boards of Registrars will publish lists of voters who need to update their voter registration record between now and January 5, 2009. The lists will be published in local newspapers along with the Official Elections Center of Alabama,

The lists contain the names of voters that the Boards of Registrars have not been able to contact during the last four years. These voters also not have updated their voter record or voted within the last four years.

Chapman stated that voters should check the list carefully, whether in the newspaper or online.

“If a voter’s name appears on the list, he or she should immediately contact the county Board of Registrars to update the voter registration record,” she explained. If voters who receive notice do not update their information by this date, they will need to submit a new registration application to vote in future elections. The deadline to update is January 5, 2009.

The Alabama Legislature passed a postcard voter file maintenance program into law in 1995 to comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 mandating voter registration updates.

The voter file maintenance program is a four-year program which utilizes a two-step mailing process to identify voters who may have moved. First, a non-forwardable postcard is mailed to every registered voter in the state. If this postcard is returned undeliverable, the voter is sent a second mailing that is forwardable. In this second mailing, the voter is requested to update his or her address, since the first postcard was undeliverable.

If this second mailing is returned undeliverable, or if the voter does not respond to it, then the voter’s status is changed to “inactive” and the voter’s name is placed on a suspense list. Under state law, a voter placed on the suspense list is to be removed from the voter list if he or she does not submit an update to the voter registration record or vote within the next four years.

Chapman stated that while many people updated their information during the most recent Presidential Election, some may still need to correct the information listed.

“Being proactive about your voter registration information now can prevent confusion for voters when the next election occurs,” Chapman said.