Secretary of State Lawson
The state has new voter registration forms meant to decrease voter fraud and end the “hoarding and dumping” of applications, according to Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who says the improved forms will create a “custody trail” . Lawson says in previous elections they've had forms submitted for Jimmy Johns and Mickey Mouse, and most of the time these applications are mixed in with legitimate ones collected by groups registering large numbers of voters then turned into the county voter registration offices just before the deadline. The new forms include a section for individuals who collect the applications to document their name and other info, and newly-registered voters will also receive a receipt with the name and address of the person who took “custody” of the application and when.
“By creating a custody trail, we are providing county clerks with the tools they need to stop fraudulent registrations that undermine the integrity of our election process,” said Secretary Lawson
If a person’s application is given to another person, but for whatever reason never arrives at a county voter registration office, Lawson says the changes will help the county assist that person in registering to vote. The additional information required by the new form can also help the county voter registration office identify any patterns of suspicious activity or clear violations of election law.
The new Indiana voter registration forms also remind groups and individuals who register voters of their own responsibility to protect the election process and prevent disenfranchisement of voters who have placed their trust in these groups or individuals. By putting their name on the application, individuals collecting voter registration forms will be more likely to review the application to ensure it is correctly filled out and filed in a timely manner, according to Lawson's office.
Individuals collecting voter registration applications who receive an application they believe to be false or fraudulent are now required to submit the application to the appropriate county election office with a statement sworn to under penalties of perjury, indicating why they believe the application to be fraudulent, to alert county officials that a violation of election law may have occurred.
Also, beginning with next year’s election, all applications collected from another person must be turned into the county voter registration office or the Indiana Election Division no later than noon 10 days of receipt of the application or the deadline to submit applications under state law, whichever occurs first.
The changes in the voter registration process were enacted by the 2013 Indiana General Assembly as part of Senate Enrolled Act 519. The updated forms were approved by the bi-partisan Indiana Election Commission, with assistance from the bi-partisan Indiana Election Division under the guidance of co-directors Brad King and Trent Deckard.