Chesterton Tribune


Know your rights: Social security numbers not required to early vote

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A resident phoned the Chesterton Tribune yesterday reporting that poll clerks at the Chesterton Town Hall satellite voting location asked her for the last four digits of her Social Security number in order to be given a ballot, while the application for an absentee ballot said providing the numbers is optional.

ďAs the IRS tells us, you should never to give out that number. Thatís why I was concerned,Ē the resident said.

The Tribune made phone calls to the Porter County Voters Registration Office and the Indiana Election Division, both confirmed that giving the last four digits of your Social Security number is optional.

Leslie Barnes, co-counsel for the Indiana Election Division, said legislation was passed this year, Senate Bill 175, that requires absentee or early voting ballots carry a space asking voters to provide the last four digits of their SSN or check if he or she does not have one but ďa county election board may not deny an application because the voter has not provided the information requested.Ē

The billís purpose was to tighten voting requirements but legislatorís realized that some citizens would be uncomfortable giving out that information and some may not have Social Security numbers, so the state made it optional, Barnes told the Tribune.

The Indiana Voter Registration application determines a voterís identification number by his or her 10-digit driverís license number, but if that is not available the ballot asks for the applicant to give their last four Social Security digits.

Specifically, the only thing voters are required to bring to the poll is their driverís license or other government issued photo ID.

County Voters Registration Democrat director Kathy Kozuszek said the office received several complaints yesterday for day one of early voting but only one regarding the SSN issue.

Most of the complaints stemmed from having to stand in long lines. Kozuszek said the purpose of early voting is to cut down on lines on Election Day. She asks voters to be patient as long lines will be common due to the presidential election.

Record set

Speaking of long lines, the county set a record Tuesday on early voting with 431 voters at the three satellite locations.

ďThatís more than what we had in 2008. Thatís fantastic,Ē Kozuszek said.

Due to the spike in turnout, the county election board has officially scheduled early voting for the three locations Ė the Porter County Administration Building in Valparaiso, the North County Complex in Portage, and the Chesterton Town Hall Ė on the last two Saturdays before the election, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Kozuszek said she encourages anyone who wishes to vote absentee by mail to call the voters office as soon as possible at 465-3484. The last day the office can accept mail-in ballot applications for voting by mail is Monday, Oct. 29.  



Posted 10/10/2012