Effort to increase voter registration nationwide creating some problems

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
A Boston-based effort to increase voter registration nationwide is adding to Rowan County voter rolls ó and gumming up the works.
The Voter Participation Center compares state voter registration lists with consumer data. The center then mails registration forms to individuals who don’t appear to be on the state’s voter lists.
The forms include pre-addressed labels and are postage-paid.
Thousands of the registration forms have gone to the N.C. Board of Elections in Raleigh and are being distributed to the counties.
Nancy Evans, elections director, said while the Voter Participation Center’s intention may be good, it’s creating problems.
In many instances, the new registration forms are for people who are already registered. Some are duplicates. Others have a different address.
Evans said it’s taking considerable staff time to research each of the registration forms.
According to the Web site, the Voter Participation Center is a project of Women’s Voices. Women Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that encourages people to register to vote.
Other groups locally, statewide and nationally are also mounting registration drives.
Evans estimated that as many as 300 new voters have been added in the past few weeks.
Overall, the county has around 85,000 registered voters. Another 20,000 of voting age are not registered.
And it’s also been one of the busiest seasons ever for voters changing political affiliations.
Evans said most are switching to unaffiliated. Many may be switching so they can vote in the presidential primary on May 6.
The deadline for registering to vote in the May 6 primary is April 11.
For information on registration or other voting questions, contact the Rowan Elections Office at 704-216-8140.
For more information on the Voter Participation Center, check the Web site at www.voterparticipationcenter.org.