Friday, March 31, 2006

Rejecting Voters For Their Own Good

25 percent of new voter registrations in California are being rejected by the state's new validation system. Once upon a time, the Counties were responsible for maintaining the voter registration ranks. After the debated results of the last national elections (remember that?), the federal "Help America Vote Act of 2002" gave that responsibility to the states. Also included with that were strict rules for preventing voter fraud.

No, that doesn't mean that 25% of new voter registrations in the state this year are fraudulent. Just incomplete. Part of the fraud prevention is the requirement to include either a driver's license or Social Security number on the voter registration card, and then verifying that name and number against other databases.

The reason being given for the rejections is typically that the voter has not included the driver's license or Social Security information, thinking they were still going by the old rules.

The state is returning the registration cards to the counties, who will then be responsible for trying to contact the voter and getting the information. Of course, if they didn't include a phone number either, that might be difficult and take a while, so don't count on being told if your registration was rejected.

So... If you've registered to vote recently and haven't received a confirmation card, I'd suggest registering again and making sure you complete all the newly required information. We have primaries coming up in June for Governor, Congress, and various other local and state offices, which means you'll need to be registered by the beginning of May, about five or six weeks from now.

California was actually the first to implement the new rules, and that's why we're also the first to be having problems with it. If you live outside California and recently registered to vote you may or may not be having the same problem: check with your local county registrars office to find out.

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