By Ken de la Bastide
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Indiana has joined 28 other states in an effort to eliminate voter fraud, Secretary of State Connie Lawson said Tuesday in a speech to the Anderson Rotary Club.
Lawson told the lunch gathering at the Anderson Country Club that the Indiana legislature approved the state joining with the others to have voter registration information reviewed by the state of Kansas. She said Kansas was the first state to implement the program and oversees the operation.
The information determines whether a person has registered to vote in more than one state or has tried to vote more than once, Lawson said.
Lawson said all the states surrounding Indiana are providing voter registration information to be reviewed in Kansas.
“We work with the other states to determine where a person is eligible to vote,” she said. “If they try to vote more than once, it is turned over to local prosecutors.”
Lawson was appointed in March 2012 by Gov. Mike Pence to complete the term of Charlie White, who was convicted of voter fraud.
Lawson said the state is also working to trim the voter registration rolls to eliminate people who no longer reside in a precinct or have died since the last election.
“Between May and November we will mail out postcards,” she said. “If a postcard is returned, a second one will be mailed. If it is returned the person’s voter registration card will be labeled inactive.”
Another option being given to counties is the use of electronic poll books, even if the county has not adopted voter centers, Lawson said.
She said with an electronic poll book the poll workers will scan the bar code on a person’s driver’s license or state issued identification card. That will provide the poll workers with the voter’s current address. The voter will electronically sign the poll book for verification of the signature.
Lawson said in 2012 there were seven counties that adopted vote centers and the number is increasing to 15 this year.
“Counties are discovering that vote centers are more cost efficient,” she said. “I don’t see it becoming mandatory in the near future.”
Lawson said if 75 or 80 of Indiana’s 92 counties adopt the vote center concept it could be made mandatory. She said in some rural counties there is not the needed Internet access.
“Right now it is a local decision,” she said.
Madison County has not voted to adopt vote centers for the election process.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.