Thursday, October 09, 2008

The final word (I hope) on voter registration SNAFUs

It's been a long day of chasing down the story about folks who get registered without using their driver's license numbers (or DMV IDs). See my earlier posts over the last four days.

Tim Scott, the Multnomah County elections supervisor, got right back to me after I left a phone message seeking clarification. (Thanks, Tim.)

The bottom line is that to comply with HAVA, the "Help America Vote Act of 2002", you MUST provide your driver's license number if you have one. (If you don't have one or a DMV ID, use the last four digits of your social security number).

If you haven't provided the proper HAVA verification, the elections office will notify you that while you can vote and will receive a ballot, the federal portion of your ballot won't be counted until you provide your driver's license number or DMV ID number.

You have until 8 p.m. on elections day to get the number to local elections officials.

So just how widespread is the problem (confusion?) about proper identification and verification? In September, 2800 letters were sent out to those who incorrectly registered in Multnomah County. (Tim said some forms provided no verifying information whatsoever) Seven hundred of those contacted responded with the necessary information. A new mailing will go out next week to reach 2900 whose registrations are incomplete.

While the numbers seem relatively small — 420,000 voters are registered in the county — in a close race (think of the U.S. Senate match-up), a small number could make a big difference.)

I hope this is the last post on this subject, but don't count on it.

We only come this way once. Let's get this election done right.

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