Campaign generates 27,000 new voters in Sept.
As voter registration nears its end this election season, the Secretary of State’s office is celebrating the success of a federally funded voter registration program.
Elections Deputy Scott Gilles said the program that sent some 390,000 postcards to eligible but unregistered voters generated more than 27,000 new or updated registrations during September.
He said 16,736 of those were new voters who registered after receiving a card in the mail – nearly all of them doing so online through the newly completed elections division voter registration system.
The remaining 10,443 were updates to existing registrations by individuals who received the cards.
Gilles said the potential voters were identified by comparing Department of Motor Vehicles records with the elections division’s statewide list of registered voters. He agreed there were some voters already registered who received the postcards – usually because of some change in their registration status such as a new address, an error in either the voter registration, or DMV data like an incorrect birthdate.
The program, Gilles said, was paid for with Help America Vote Act money from the federal government.
“We didn’t have this in our budget,” he said. Gilles said the funding was intended to educate people on how to register.
It was accompanied by an advertising campaign to get the word out paid for with some $800,000 in contingency fund money approved by the Interim finance Committee.
One woman complained she was told by a supporter of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney that she had to re-register to vote every election. Gilles said that’s not true, that as long as a person votes in each election their name remains on the list of eligible voters.
Saturday is the final day for people to register online or by mail.
After that, he said they can still register in person at their clerk’s office until the close of business Oct. 16.