It’s easy to get paranoid about your voter registration, with all the news about a federal election commission’s seeking state voter rolls to check for fraud.
So a mailer from the local elections office asking you to confirm your registration address might appear worrisome.
But in off years Georgia routinely compares postal service records to voter registrations to determine whether voters have moved, said Nancy Boren, executive director of the Muscogee Board of Elections and Registrations.
So the elections office recently mailed out notices to those who either have changed their mailing addresses or had their mail forwarded, asking them to fill out a form and send it back, so election workers can update their records.
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Normally those notices would have been mailed out much earlier in an odd year, but this year was even odder in that Georgia held a special election to fill the congressional seat Tom Price left vacant to take a position with the Trump administration. So the state had to wait until that was over to start updating county voter rolls, Boren said.
The state ships the confirmation notices to county elections offices, which then mail them out. Voters are getting them now.
If they only had their mail forwarded to another address temporarily and have not moved away, they are asked to fill out the form to confirm that, and nothing will change. If they have moved to another address within Muscogee County, they should fill out the mailer with their new address, and the elections office will change their registration to reflect that.
If they send notice that they have moved to another Georgia county, elections workers here will forward that information to the appropriate county, which will add their names to its voter rolls. The elections office which previously held their registrations will send them notice of the transfer.
If they report that they have moved away from Georgia, their names will be removed from the state’s voter rolls.
If they do not reply, their names will be moved from the county’s list of “active” voters to the list of “inactive” ones. This does not mean they can’t vote: They’re still eligible, but if they don’t vote in one of the two subsequent general elections or conduct some business with the elections office that shows they’re still engaged, their names will be deleted, so it’s preferable to return the mailer now, rather than risk becoming ineligible.
“If the elector fails to respond to the notice within 30 days after the date of the notice, the elector shall be transferred to the inactive list,” says the Secretary of State’s office, citing state law.
This periodic checkup is known as the National Change of Address Confirmation Process. It requires only that voters fill out and send back the forms in the mailers provided, which already are addressed to the Secretary of State and require no postage.
If you are unsure of your current registration status, remember that you can check it online through the Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page” at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. You also may call your county elections office. The telephone number here in Columbus is 706-653-4392. It’s online at www.columbusga.org/elections.