State cleans up voters list

Published 6:27 pm Monday, December 29, 2008

Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman said the Boards of Registrars around the state, including the one in Shelby County, are publishing lists of voters who need to update voter registration information.

The list of Shelby County voters published in the Dec. 24 Reporter and is again in today’s newspaper.

“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.

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 said voters should check the published list carefully.

“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,” Chapman said.

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 Jan. 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 said 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.