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Overview of Voter Registration. Voter Registration Resources Voter Registration Guidebook SVRS SOPs SVRS Step-By-Step Instructions Build Notes Web Training FAQs, Memos and other communications. Overview of Voter Registration. County Voter Registration office DECIDES:

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overview of voter registration
Overview of Voter Registration

Voter Registration Resources

  • Voter Registration Guidebook
  • SVRS Step-By-Step Instructions
  • Build Notes
  • Web Training
  • FAQs, Memos and other communications
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Overview of Voter Registration
  • County Voter Registration office DECIDES:
    • Is voter eligible? 18 years of age, US citizen, resident of precinct?
    • Uniform standards must be applied
    • Is application on valid form and complete?
    • Is application timely received?
      • Special deadlines for postmarked applications
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Overview of Voter Registration

Processing a Voter Registration Application

  • County Voter Registration office can approve application, reject application, or determine that application is incomplete.
    • If rejected, county mails notice to applicant.
    • If incomplete, county contacts applicant to obtain necessary information. Special procedure for age, citizenship questions. SOP VRG 1.3
    • If approved, county mails notice to applicant, whose application becomes “pending”.
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Overview of Voter Registration

When Voter Registration Applicant Becomes a Voter

  • Applicant becomes “active” voter at that address when voter receives acknowledgment notice in mail which is assumed by state law to have happened 7 days after notice mailed, or sooner if applicant presents mailed notice to voter registration office.
  • If notice returned by USPS, then application is “rejected” and applicant was never a registered voter at that address.
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Overview of Voter Registration

Keeping it Clean

  • Important “shorthand” to know:
    • NVRA (the National Voter Registration Act of 1993).
      • Note: NVRA requires registration services be provided by the BMV and other full service agencies that use the VRG-6
    • HAVA (the Help America Vote Act of 2002).
    • Federal and state laws require voter lists to be kept current.
    • Federal and state laws restrict how and when voter lists are cleaned up.
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Overview of Voter Registration


  • Authorized in writing by voter.
  • Reported deceased by state department of health.
  • Reported incarcerated by department of correction (or county sheriff) following conviction of crime and imprisonment.
  • Voter record is NEVER canceled JUST because of non-voting at that address.
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Overview of Voter Registration

Active and Inactive Voters

  • What if county voter registration office has information that voter no longer resides at address on registration record?
    • Mailing to voter that permits determination (from NCOA information) that voter no longer resides at address on registration record
      • Must be “uniform and nondiscriminatory”
      • Statewide mailing, countywide mailing, jury service notices, etc. See SOP VRG 58.2
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Overview of Voter Registration

Fail-Safe Procedures

  • Fail-safe procedures permit a person to vote a regular ballot on election day even though there is an issue with respect to the voter’s registration record.
    • Certificate of error. When it’s “our bad”.
    • Cancellation but voter affirms continues to reside at old address.
    • Registration application receipt from BMV or other full-service registration agency.
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Overview of Voter Registration

VRG 4-12

  • In certain cases, a voter can return ONE LAST TIME to the precinct where the voter formerly resided to vote at the polls for that precinct.
    • Does not apply to EVERY voter in every situation.
    • Used to transfer registration record to new address in county (or to cancel record if voter moved to another county).
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    • What is it?
  • Federal “Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act” signed into law in 2009 and implemented by the Indiana General Assembly during its 2010 session
  • Overall purpose of MOVE: Help military serving overseas and citizens who live abroad vote in US elections
  • Most provisions apply to the November 2010 election.
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  • Registration Changes
  • Transmit voter registration applications to military/ overseas voters by fax or email if requested to do so
    • If you are not provided with sufficient fax number or email address to transmit the application within one business day, then you must mail the application
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    • Common Sense Business Rules for FPCA
  • Where a county has a separate board of voter registration:
    • Where clerk receives a federal combined registration/ absentee ballot application (FPCA), the clerk shall:
      • Make a copy of the FPCA to attach to returned absentee ballot and record necessary information in SVRS for sending absentee ballot to the voter.
      • Forward the original FPCA to the board of registration to process the registration application portion of the combined form.
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  • Changes to Absentee Application Deadline

Beginning July 1, 2010 state law changed the time voters may begin filing absentee ballot applications.

  • Prior law provided that absentee ballot applications could be filed no earlier than 90 days before the election (for example, August 4 this year)
  • New law permits absentee ballot applications to be submitted when registration opens after the primary.
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  • Changes to Absentee Ballot Delivery Deadline
  • As a result of absentee ballot applications being filed earlier, voter registration officials will be asked to verify the voter registration status of absentee ballot applications sooner.
  • MOVE also requires that absentee ballots be delivered to the clerk and sent to pending absentee ballot applicants 5 days earlier than prior law.
      • Absentee ballots to be delivered to the clerk by September 13
      • Absentee ballots mailed to pending applicants by September 18
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    • Continuing Absentee Ballot Applications
  • Beginning July 1, 2010 Military and Overseas absentee ballot applications are “continuing” applications for 12 months following the date filed
    • Absentee ballot applications filed no later than noon June 30, 2010 will be treated as continuing through the 2nd general election following the date filed
    • If an absentee ballot that was sent in response to any continuing absentee ballot application is returned as “undeliverable” then the application is no longer a continuing application
districts precincts and annexation
Districts, Precincts, and Annexation

Let’s Start with Definitions

  • Election Districts: Areas used to determine which offices a voter is entitled to vote for and candidate residence qualification
    • Examples: State legislative district, county council district or town council district
  • Precincts: Areas established for election purposes
  • Annexation: A legal process whereby a city or town expands its boundaries
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Districts, Precincts, and Annexation

Who Establishes Election Districts?

  • General Assembly must establish new congressional districts and new state legislative districts (Indiana Senate and Indiana House) in 2011 when census figures are certified
  • County Commissioners establish districts for Commissioners and County Councils in 2011
  • Cities and towns must establish their own election districts in 2012
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Districts, Precincts, and Annexation

District Changes and Precincts

  • Some changes to precincts may be required by law if new election districts split precincts
    • A precinct may not cross a congressional, state senate or state house district boundary
    • If the 2011 redistricting of these boundaries split your precincts, then you will be required to establish new precinct to avoid the split
    • A county will be required to modify voter registrations to account for district & precinct changes
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Districts, Precincts, and Annexation

What is the Process for Establishing Precincts?

  • The County Commissioners propose a precinct establishment order
  • IED must approve precincts after staff and OCD review before the changes may become final
    • Indiana Election Commission (IEC) must approve the proposed precincts if a county voter files a timely objection after IED approval
    • IEC may approve precinct changes if not sufficient time remains for 10 day legal notice.
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Districts, Precincts, and Annexation

Who Establishes Precincts

  • Precincts may not be established by any other people or by any other process
    • Precinct boundaries are not “automatically” altered when the General Assembly or a county, municipality, or school district establishes new election districts.
    • Precincts are not “automatically” altered when a city or town annexes new territory.
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Districts, Precincts, and Annexation


  • A city or town may annex at any time by adopting an ordinance
  • Annexation ordinances must be filed with the circuit court clerk and board of registration IC 36-4-3-22
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Districts, Precincts, and Annexation


  • Annexation ordinance must assign annexed area to council district in a city or town (if any)
  • Voters in annexed area are eligible to vote in city or town elections once the annexation is final IC 3-11-1.5-33
  • However, an annexation by a city or town does not “automatically” change any of your precincts
    • Remember- Only county commissioners and IED or IEC can change precinct boundaries
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Districts, Precincts, and Annexation

Impact of Municipal Annexation on Elections

  • Your county may consider changing precincts in response to an annexation to help with administering elections for annexed city or town but county is not required to change precincts.
  • Either way, an annexation will change the way a county administers the election for the city or town because the annexed voters are entitled to a city or town ballot.
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Districts, Precincts, and Annexation

Impact of Municipal Annexation on Elections

  • The registration record of annexed voters must be amended in SVRS when annexation is final to show that the voter is entitled to a city or town ballot
  • An alternative to changing precincts to match annexation boundaries is simply to indicate eligible municipal voters on the pollbook.
    • An example where this is routinely administered is a small town of 500 or less that sets within a precinct that is an entire township
  • New Roles for Federal Write-in Ballot (FWAB)
  • FWAB May now be used in any election, starting with November 2, 2010 election, including:
    • Primary for nomination of candidates
    • Any general, municipal or special election
  • May vote for any candidate (federal, state or local), political party or public question
  • Law requiring state-provided ABS-3 to vote for statewide candidates and public questions was repealed
    • New Roles for Federal Write-in Ballot (FWAB)
  • New federal program will tie into state’s “Who’s on Your Ballot” so FWAB voters have access to candidate names to cut and paste into FWAB.