Monday, September 11, 2017

Information About Voter Registration

Tomorrow, when there is primary election here in Hudson for Democrats and members of the Independence Party, Donald Trump's controversial voter fraud commission, which is being sued by voter advocacy groups for its lack of transparency, will be meeting in New Hampshire. NPR's All Things Considered devoted a segment to it today: "Voter Fraud Commission Holds Second Meeting in New Hampshire Amid Controversy." It is in the context of this meeting and the recent allegations that one of the candidates for Second Ward alderman doesn't actually live in the Second Ward that Gossips shares some information about voter registration in Columbia County.

When people register to vote, they swear or affirm that the address they give is in fact the address where they reside. The Board of Elections does not question or require proof of residency. A few weeks before each election, the BOE sends out those little yellow cards, informing voters of their ward and their polling place. If the post office does not return the card, it is assumed that all is well. If a card is returned, the voter to whom the card was addressed is placed on a Challenge List. When voters on this list turn up at the polls, they are required to vote using an affidavit ballot. The BOE must research and verify the voter before the ballot can be counted.

Now, here is the little known part of the process. A voter suspected not to reside where he claims to reside can be challenged not by the BOE but by another voter. There is a form available at the BOE for that very purpose. When such a challenge is made, the sheriff is sent to investigate. Of course, the problem with this is that most people don't have access to the voter lists, so they don't necessarily know if there are voters registered at houses known to be unoccupied or voters registered at addresses where they do not actually live.

1 comment:

  1. Those yellow “mail-check” cards, which are non-forwardable, go out the first week of August every year according to law. If they come back to the Board as undeliverable, the Board sends the voter a confirmation card, which is forwardable, to confirm that the voter no longer lives there, and marks the voter “inactive,” which also puts the voter on a challenge list at the polls at the next election. If the voter replies to say s/he does in fact live there, the voter is returned to active status (and does not go on a challenge list at the next election). If there’s no response, challenge list.