12/26/07 — Voter records being updated

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Voter records being updated

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 26, 2007 2:19 PM

With a busy and full election schedule on the horizon, the Wayne County Board of Elections is trying to make sure all of its voter registration records are current and up-to-date.

In May will be the primaries for national, state and county offices.

In November will be the general elections for president, governor, state legislative seats, congressional seats and several county positions.

But before any of that happens, election officials want to make sure all their information is correct, explained Erin Burridge, geo-information systems technician and interim director of the Wayne County Board of Elections until Jan. 2.

"We're going to do a mailing to all the registered voters, active, inactive and temporary, in Wayne County," she said. "The idea behind it is to encourage everyone to update any information that may have changed."

There are more than 64,000 registered voters in Wayne County.

"It's a huge job," she said.

Helping fund the project, which Ms. Burridge explained will be conducted with the assistance of an outside company because of its massive size, will be a $10,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Postage alone, she added, will likely cost between $4,000 and $5,000.

Each registered voter, including those who live elsewhere but maintain their residency in Wayne County, will receive a card in the mail.

On that card will be all their voter information, including what precinct they vote in, where their polling place is, and what districts they're in for school board, city council, county commission, state legislature and congress.

It also will give voters the opportunity to update their names if they have since changed through marriage or divorce, and to update their addresses is necessary.

If voters have moved and not left forwarding addresses, the voter cards will be returned to the board of elections office and a second one mailed out for verification purposes.

Then, Ms. Burridge explained, when those voters show up on Election Day, precinct officials will be prompted to get the correct information.

"A lot of people don't realize they have to tell us when they change their address. Your residency affects what district you're in and who you are eligible to vote for," she said. "Having your residency information updated is important so you're registered in the proper jurisdiction so you get the proper ballot.

"You want to make sure you have a say-so in the election."

This will be the first such exercise done by the elections office since 2004.

Ms. Burridge said she expects the cards to begin going out to voters in early January, and she urged them to not just ignore them.