Oct 07 2008

Purge this, Indiana!

I got an e-mail from MoveOn.org over the weekend reminding me that the voter registration deadline in my home state was Monday, Oct 6.  And I very nearly sent the message directly to my trash folder. I had voted absentee in the 2004 general election (the last one I was eligible to participate in) so I was already registered. No problem, no rush. Right?

But as long as I was thinking about it, I decided to go ahead and request my absentee ballot on Monday. This was a highly unusual move since I tend to be a master procrastinator. But then again this is a highly unusual election, and Indiana, the reddest of Red States, might actually end up being a contest . So I clicked the link conveniently provided in the MoveOn.org e-mail and printed out the necessary form.

But one of the few pieces of information this form required was the Indiana address I was registered with…oops. This is a really simple question if you're voting absentee because you just happen to be out of town on election day. But if you haven't lived in the state for over 6 years, and it's been at least four years since the last time you had to supply it…the question suddenly becomes quite complex.

Not only was I dorking on the exact address of my last apartment in Lafayette (though I was able to find a street view of it on Google Maps, go figure), I also had a vague recollection of *possibly* switching my voter registration to my Mom's address before the 2004 election. In any case, I was pretty sure that whichever one I chose to put on the form would be wrong…thus delaying the arrival of my ballot.

So after supper I began calling the Tippecanoe County Election Board office to find out which address I was registered under. Let's just say they were a wee bit busy. But I'm so glad I persisted, because when I finally got someone on the phone, I found out that my voter registration had been made "inactive"! They still had my name in the system, which means I could have challenged it had I shown up at my local precinct on election day, but I had to re-register in order to qualify for an absentee ballot.

According to the very helpful young woman I was dealing with, their files did not indicate WHY my registration had been suspended…only that it happened sometime in August of 2006, which is really strange considering I'd voted in 2004. Indiana law states that a registered voter has to skip voting in two consecutive general elections in order to have suspended and (eventually) purged from the rolls, so I should have been fine. But given all hanky-panky surrounding voter registration lists in the U.S. lately, part of me wasn't really surprised.

So my absentee ballot is (allegedly) on the way to Sweden, but I so regret not requesting it earlier.  Maybe if I had, I could have warned some other unsuspecting Hoosiers to check their registration before the Oct. 6 deadline.  Now the only comfort I can offer to beleagured Indiana Democrats is the following analysis from Comedy Central's Indecision 2008 Blog:

Indiana: The Bastard Stepchild of Swing States


Feed my ego!

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