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ISU students face lower barriers to voter registration

Tue, 09 Oct 2012 14:59:19 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

Several hundred more ISU students will likely have their votes counted next month than did so four years ago. That's according to McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael who under the guidance of the State Board of Elections is no longer requiring a piece of mail, or a copy of an ID be submitted along with voter registration forms.

"I would imagine it was hundreds that could have been possibly denied last time that won't be flagged this time. So it'll make a big difference on election day."

Michael says last election cycle voter registrations without that extra ID were held as provisional votes.

"Probably a lot were counted. Probably a lot were not counted. To check on a provisional after the election, we take all those out and it's our decision then or mine to say no no ID, or we couldn't track em down, but we tried to. "

Even as recently as several weeks ago, Michael was under the impression that additional documentation was required to validate a registration, but the Elections Board has clarified what she calls a confusing statute.

"We no longer have to have someone turn in a copy of anything if they use the mail in form."

The direction particularly affects students, whose residence changes from year to year and who may not find it easy to provide extra documentation. Michael says attempts may be made in the General Assembly to change the law and require more verification.
Michael expects student votes to exceed the record amount four years ago because of campus area voter registration drives this year that could produce a couple thousand new entries as the registration deadline expired Tuesday. She estimates overall registration to be about the same as four years ago at more than 54,000 outside of Bloomington. Five thousand people have been purged from the rolls and five thousand new registrations have come in over the last four years. Turnout in the last Presidential cycle in the county was higher than 73% of registered voters.

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