Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Online voter registration option now available in Indiana

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Starting today, Hoosiers can register to vote without leaving the comfort of their computer chairs.

The Indiana Secretary of State’s office recently announced the launch of online voting registration which is to be featured on the website

According to a statement this week released by the secretary of state’s office, Indiana will be the eighth state in the nation, following Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington to offer such an option. A resolution to instate online voting registration was adopted by the Indiana General Assembly with support from both parties in 2009, going into effect on July 1 this year.

The statement said states who have adopted the online option have seen about a 60 to 70 percent decrease in use of paper registrations over time.

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita said in the statement the newest method of registration should cut costs and enhance accessibility, accuracy and security.

Jim Gavin, communications director for the secretary of state’s office, told the Chesterton Tribune the service will add convenience and efficiency for voters as well as county election officials. The shift to online registration aims to make it easier for county administrators by facilitating data entry, which will come in handy as the state gets closer to the busy election season.

“We’re wanting to make further use of our technology,” said Gavin. “A statewide voter registration system is there to help our election administrators manage all the work that they do in maintaining security and integrity within the election process.”

The Web registration option can accommodate up to 2,500 registrations per hour, Gavin mentioned. The process had been tested since last December in the Indiana Election Division offices with further tests inside the county level beginning in March.

Indiana residents with a valid Indiana driver’s license or state-issued identification card can use the online registration tool for new voter registration to update their existing record.

Applicants will instantly receive a confirmation notice that they can print with a confirmation number. Voters can later check with their county voters registration to make sure their application was received.

After an applicant submits his or her information, the site will validate a voter’s eligibility through a system of database crosschecks. The Statewide Voter Registration System will check an electronic copy of the applicant’s signature with a new system developed at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles that accesses identification records.

The state system will then send the applications to the county voter registration office where directors have a period of seven days to make a final decision whether or not to accept an application.

The local level checks certain criteria to verify the voter’s residency, with the Indiana Department of Correction database to verify the applicant is not incarcerated and also with the Department of Health database to ensure the applicant is not deceased.

Hoosiers must be registered to vote by midnight on Oct. 4 if they wish to vote in the 2010 General Elections.

Gavin said it is uncertain whether or not more persons will be willing to register with the online option available to them, but the process is more convenient, he feels, and more modern.

Online registration is the third innovation to the site this year, Gavin said. The Indiana Election Division recently added features where voters can find their polling places and see who the candidates on their specific ballot are.

Gavin said Hoosiers probably won’t be able to see those ballots until or after August as the parties have until July 6 to file certificates of candidates to fill ballot vacancies. The feature will be available in time for the November election.

The online preview for the ballots can help voters recognize candidates in county races that are usually overshadowed by high-profile races like governor or president, Gavin said.

Voters can also use the site to find county contact information and validate their registration status.

Those wanting more information on voter eligibility and online voting services can contact the Hoosier Voter Hotline at (866)461-8683 or by simply visiting the website.

Residents can still register to vote the traditional way by completing a registration application through their county’s voters registration office.



Posted 7/1/2010




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