Thursday, September 12, 2013
Get Ready for Massive Voter Registration Changes
At Monday's Decatur Township Democratic Club meeting, Angela Nussmeyer, the Director of Elections for the Marion County Election Board, gave a presentation highlighting the statewide changes that will go into effect on January 1, 2014. Changes, of course, courtesy of the Indiana General Assembly and the GOP supermajorities in the House and Senate.
The biggest change is in the voter registration form and process itself.
Current voter registration forms will be obsolete as of December 31, 2013. After that date, you can throw the old forms out, and, on January 1, 2014, you must use the new Indiana Voter Registration Form.
The new form looks almost the same, but there is a new box at the top right side of the form. It is a spot for a "third party registrar" or the person that registers a voter to provide a receipt to the person whose registration was taken. This is a brand new requirement, and it only
The receipt essentially states that you, as a third party registrar, are taking custody of the form after registering someone. On the receipt, you must provide your name and the date you took the registration, but that's not all. YOU ALSO MUST PROVIDE YOUR HOME ADDRESS!!!
Chilling effect much??
If you are, let's say, a government teacher, would you want the 35 students in your government class to find your home by the receipt you hand them after registering them to vote? What if your daughter or son is volunteering to register college students or going door-to-door? Would you want him or her to provide the home address to your home to strangers?
This is only a part of the problem.
After taking a voter's registration form and giving them the attached receipt, you have by noon on the 10th day after taking the registration to get that form to the voter registration board at the county courthouse. If you miss the deadline, it's a bit unclear as to what happens to the form and the registration of that voter, but it is clear that getting the form to the county voter registration board late is subjecting that civic-minded volunteer to being charged with a misdemeanor.
Again, this is only for voter registration drives using the paper form from the State of Indiana. The federal voter registration form is not subject to the receipt and registering voters at www.indianavoters.com also doesn't require a receipt. If folks register at the BMV, the receipt does not apply, and simply handing an empty form to a voter to fill out and return on their own doesn't trigger the receipt requirement.
It gets better, though.
Let's say you've done EVERYTHING right. You drop off 25 voter registration forms at the voter registration board for 25 people you registered legally. You provided each of those folks with a receipt as the law requires. There is NO REQUIREMENT for the voter registration board to provide me with any receipt that you dropped it off. It's still possible that, as a good and civic minded individual that you could end up being charged for a misdemeanor because a piece paper got shuffled incorrectly.
Gives you something to think about no matter what party you're from if you're registering voters! Use the federal form or encourage voters to register online.