Indiana part of national voter purge

The Hoosier state is caught up in part of a national voter purge that has attracted the attention of the New York Times, and is drawing the ire of the Social Security Administration.

On OCtober 7, the AP reported:

Federal officials have asked election officials in Indiana and five other states to investigate whether social security number checks are being improperly run on people registering to vote.

Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue sent a letter Friday to the secretaries of state of Alabama, Georgia and battleground states Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio. The letter noted they had submitted “extraordinarily high levels” of verification requests.

On October 8, the AP followed up on the case here in Indiana – in trying to comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the state may have been been sending additional requests for confirmation to the SSA. Indiana Secretary of State spokesman Jim Gavin explained that the problem was caused by voters completing both the Drivers License number and Social Security Number fields:

“If a voter fails to note the instructions that they are supposed to use their driver’s license number, they may opt to supply their Social Security number instead. And those check boxes are adjacent to each other on the form,” Gavin said.

If voters provide both numbers, both numbers will be verified, Gavin said.

This sounded pretty reasonable, especially since Nevada had a problem with state workers swapping the Drivers License and SSN fields, causing a similar problem.

But the New York Times pointed out a basic problem with Gavin’s excuse:

Under federal law, election officials are supposed to use the Social Security database to check a registration application only as a last resort, if no record of the applicant is found on state databases, like those for driver’s licenses or identification cards.

Today, the AP follows up with denials from several state officials. The most ridiculous quote comes from our own Secretary of State, Todd “the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence” Rokita:

Indiana also defended its procedures. “Using all available appropriate technology is our best way to combat voter fraud that we know exists in this state and across the country,” Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita said in a statement Thursday.

In other words, Rokita appears to be refusing to comply with federal election laws just to “verify” new registrants and slow down the process.

Please, check your registration status – – before you go to vote. And if you go to vote early, you have time to fix any problems before election day.