Bernie Sanders wins the Michigan Primary

Senator Bernie Sanders has defeated Hillary Clinton in the Michigan Primary.  Hillary Clinton had a 17 point lead according to recent polls.  The Bernie Sanders Revolution is alive and rolling!


Connie Lawson Incumbent Secretary of State

On March 16, 2012, Connie Lawson was appointed by Governor Mitch Daniels to serve as Secretary of State. Governor Daniels called her the obvious choice because of the local and state elections experience she brings to the office. Although she had just over a month to prepare for her first primary election as Indiana’s chief elections officer, Lawson’s extensive experience with elections as a county clerk and state senator resulted in a successfully administered primary.

Indiana begins effort to trim bloated voter registration lists

Indiana’s voter registration lists are bloated, state officials say, and they have started the long process to pare them down.

The goal is to get rid of names of ineligible voters, primarily those who’ve moved out of state or who are dead, without disenfranchising those with outdated addresses or who haven’t voted for a while. Election officials believe duplicate names and bad addresses are opportunities for vote fraud.

“Everybody wants a list of only eligible registered voters on it,” said Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. “The question is how do you get there.”

The first step in a statewide process — paid for by $2.1 million set aside in 2012 — began last week with the mailing of postcards to about 4.4 million registered Hoosier voters.

“It is estimated that at least one in eight voter registrations contains inaccurate information,” said Secretary of State Connie Lawson, whose office sent the cards. “We think our turnout numbers are artificially low because there are people who haven’t notified us if they’ve moved out of state.”

During the May primary, voter turnout in major counties around the state ranged from 6 percent to the upper teens — and some were said to set record lows for a nonmunicipal primary. Statewide turnout results are expected this week.

But those numbers don’t reflect accurate percentages of those who voted, said Downs.

Comparing a few counties’ voter registration numbers with their populations, he said, indicates the registration numbers can’t be right.

For example, Hamilton County’s population of those 18 and over in 2012 was 205,000 ,and a total of 202,000 — or 98.5 percent — were registered. Marion County had 687,000 eligible voters and 641,000 or 93 percent were registered to vote.

It’s safe to assume that registrations in the 90th percentiles, especially the high 90s, are not true, Downs said, adding that ranges in the 70th percentile are more believable.

As part of a Civic Health Index published nationally in 2011 by several groups, including the Center on Congress, Downs said Indiana ranked 43rd in terms of registration rate, which was estimated at 61.2 percent in 2010.

Lawson said she isn’t able to estimate how bloated the registration lists are statewide. But she said she sought funds from the legislature to make sure Indiana would be able to conduct a statewide effort to update polling lists on a regular basis.

Counties are responsible for maintaining voters’ lists, and on a regular basis they update addresses and remove names of the deceased, she said. But not all can keep up with the task.

“It’s very expensive to do these mailings,” she said. “Some counties have more resources than others.”

Under federal law now, states are required to update voter lists in even-numbered years. Indiana hasn’t gone through this process since 2006, before the mandate. At that time, Lawson said, the voter cleanup purged 300,000 names from the rolls.

The postcards sent last week remind voters about Election Day on Nov. 4 and ask that they visit to make sure they are registered or to verify their names and addresses are accurate.

If the cards come back as undeliverable, a second round of first-class postcards will be sent the first week of June to those addresses. Again, they will ask these voters to take action to update their registration information.

If people update their information online or mail the postcards back, they continue to be considered active voters. If no response is received, the voters are considered “inactive” in the voter registration system.

However, those voters can still vote in November and in the 2015 and 2016 elections. Beginning in 2017, though, counties will remove people from the poll list if they haven’t voted since 2014 and haven’t verified their addresses. If voters are deceased, proper paperwork must be filed to remove them from poll lists.

“This is not an easy process,” said Downs. “It’s a complicated process, but it probably needs to be.”

He recalled times before the Help America Vote Act of 2002 when purging voter files were done more aggressively, if people didn’t vote regularly enough.

While the poll lists are never going to be completely clean, this process will help, he explained.

“People want a nice silver bullet to take care of this problem,” Downs said. “But there isn’t one. As long as people want a system that encourages registration, you will always have names in the files who aren’t registered voters anymore.”

Call Star reporter Barb Berggoetz at (317) 444-6294. Follow her on Twitter: @barbberg.

Beth White Running for Secretary of State

Now serving her second term in office, Marion County Clerk Beth White is the chief fiscal agent and record keeper for the courts in Indiana’s largest county and the secretary of the local Election Board. As the chief election official for the 13th largest city in America, Beth has championed voters’ rights by expanding early voting opportunities and lobbying the legislature to remove barriers to voting.


Beth also created yVote!, a voter education program for high schools to encourage participation in elections. Since 2008, Beth and her staff have visited 27 public, private and charter high schools and registered more than 2,500 eligible students to vote. She also regularly attends the naturalization ceremonies of the federal court and has registered more than 6,000 of our newest Hoosiers to vote.

Before being sworn into elected office in 2007, Beth worked for former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and was part of the O’Bannon administration. Previously, she worked as a litigator in private practice and as a Deputy Prosecutor. A Bloomington native, Beth is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University at Bloomington. She received her law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Beth is an adjunct professor at IUPUI, currently serves on the board of the Indianapolis Public Schools Education Foundation and previously served on the board of the Julian Center. Beth is an active member of Central Christian Church and resides in Indianapolis with her husband, Neil Marcus, and their young son.

Beth has been recognized by the Indianapolis Business Journal as a “Woman of Influence;” a “Distinguished Barrister;” by the Indiana Lawyer; and a “Champion of Diversity” by Indiana Minority Business Magazine.

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