Over 3,000 voters purged

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   More than 3,000 Carter County citizens have been purged from voter registration rolls after failing to vote in the past two federal elections.
   The Carter County Election Commission office announced the purge of 3,020 voters who have not voted in the past two federal elections held in Nov. 2000 and 2002.
   "If anyone has a question about their status as a registered voter, they can call the commission office," said Tracy T. Harris, administrator of elections for Carter County.
   State law requires a county election commission to keep an address verification program to identify any voter who has changed the voter's residence address without notifying the commission office. The verification process must be done every two years, but can be done annually.
   If registered voters do not fill out their address verification forms, the commission has no way of knowing whether they are still registered residents of the county.
   If the election commission determines that a voter has changed his or her address, the administrator of elections sends confirmation notice to the registrant at the address of registration and includes a prepaid, pre-addressed return form on which the voter can verify or correct the new address information.
   The county election commission follows the same process if indications exist that the voter no longer resides at the address where he or she is registered, or if he or she has failed to vote over a period of two consecutive regular November elections.
   Citizens who do not vote in two federal elections are placed on inactive status and subsequently purged as registered voters, Harris said.
   "When they don't send back their address verification form, we send a confirmation form," said Harris. "When they don't send back the confirmation, that is when we make them inactive."
   A law previously requiring an election commission to publicly list the names of purged voters was lifted by the General Assembly this year. The county election commission purged 2,236 registered voters during the 2001 verification process.
   If a citizen's voting registration is purged, he or she can return to active status by registering to vote at the election commission office.
   Citizens may inquire about their registration status by contacting the county election commission office at 542-1822.