Overview of voter registration
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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

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

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    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

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    • 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

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    • 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.

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