Voter rolls clean up in Madison Co.

Published 2:18 am Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Madison County will spend $26,000 on mailings to determine the status of 30,000 registered voters who did not vote in the 2008 presidential elections.

The idea is to clean up the county’s voter rolls.

A similar plan was dropped last year because of the $59,000 cost and fears of confusing voters before an election.

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County Election Commission Chairman Kakey Chaney says voter rolls are bloated and need to be fixed. She says sending the mail-outs to voters who did not participate in the 2008 presidential elections was a good starting point.

“I have been told that the rolls haven’t been purged in 20 years. This is a way to address the issue head on. We have been dealing with the issue for quite sometime,” Chaney said.

According to 2006 Census Bureau figures, there are only 63,000 eligible voters in Madison County. Currently the county has more than 77,000 registered voters on the rolls.

Madison County was one of 24 counties in the state cited by the secretary of state’s office as having more registered voters than eligible voters.

Chaney said 46,970 people voted in the 2008 presidential election.

“We are targeting the 30,074 voters who did not vote in the general election,” Chaney said.

The proposed mailing will be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval, which Chaney said could come within 90 days. Then, she said the commission will get a mailing list from the circuit clerk of all registered voters who did not vote in the 2008 election.

Once the mail-outs are sent, the recipients will have the option to mark a box verifying their address and information or a box marked as “Moved out of County/State” or “Deceased.”

The mail-outs that are returned as undeliverable will be reviewed by the Election Commission to determine if the applicant still resides at that address and whether to mark them as active or inactive, she said.

If a mail-out is not returned and the commission is unable to locate that person, the commission will send out a voter notification card and the missing voter will have 30 days to respond. If there is no response, the voter will be marked as inactive.

Chaney said a voter marked inactive could still vote in an upcoming election, but would have to file an affidavit ballot and show proof of residency. That affidavit ballot would then be reviewed by the Election Commission, which would determine if the vote should be counted.

If the voter does not vote in the next two federal elections over the next four years he or she will be purged from the rolls.