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Indiana Begins Purging Voter Rolls

The state of Indiana plans to spend $2.1 million to clean up its voter rolls.

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Photo: Mel Green (Flickr)

While counties are supposed to continually keep their voter rolls updated, several were found to have more registered than eligible voters in 2012.

The state of Indiana is beginning the process of removing voters who are dead or moved out-of-state off of its voter rolls.

The state sent out postcards late last week to all registered voters.

If the postcard is returned as undeliverable, the state will send out a second postcard. If that card comes back, the state will will mark the voter as inactive. If they don’t vote in the next two federal elections, their names will be removed from the rolls.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson says federal law requires counties to remove ineligible voters.

“But, I wanted to make the extra step in order to make sure that the county election officials have the resources that they needed to get this done,” she says.

The state allocated $2.1 million in 2012 to purge its voter rolls.

That same year, the legal advocacy group, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit, alleging several counties in Indiana had more registered voters than eligible voters.

Judicial Watch attorney Chris Fedeli says the goal of the lawsuit was to make counties clean up their voter rolls, and, if the state follows federal law, Hoosiers shouldn’t worry about legitimate voters being taken off voting lists.

“As long as they are doing that, they should be able to continue to remove names from voter rolls as they are required to do without disenfranchising anyone,” he says.

Until 2017 voters, who were removed from the rolls can still show up at vote sites and do the paperwork just before they vote. If they do not, they will have to sign an affidavit to prove their residency.

While Lawson and others see cleaning up voter rolls as a way of ensuring fair elections, it also helps local governments save money.

“Counties have to prepare and send the right number of machines, the right number of ballots and other materials according to the names on the list,” Lawson said. “We don‘t want counties to spend any more money on the election process than they have to.”

Network Indiana contributed to this report.

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