Nearly 1,000 voters purged

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 5, 2001

from county’s roles


Staff Writer

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Jan. 4, 2001 10 PM

Some 200,000 names are being removed from Alabama voter lists and almost 1,000 of those are from Pike County.

Earlier this week, 117,000 names were taken off the state’s voter roles and the remainder will be deleted by the end of the week.

In Pike County, 990 names are being purged from the list, said Evelyn Morgan of the Pike County Board of Registrars.

"Most of ours were college students who had left," Morgan said of the names coming off Pike County’s voter list.

In other areas, names will include those who have died, but the Pike County Board of Registrars keeps tabs on deaths here.

"I doubt any of them (the names purged) were deaths," Morgan said.

She said the local funeral homes provide information to the Board of Registrars regarding deaths as does the state.

"In a county as small as Pike, we check," Morgan said.

The process to update the state’s voter lists began last month when newspapers across the state published lists of names to be removed from county voter lists.

Secretary of State Jim Bennett said inactive voters are being removed from the voter rolls under the federal Motor Voter program.

"This is the final step in removing dead or relocated voters from the voter rolls in Alabama, which is important in combating fraud at the polling place," Bennett said. "Once these names are removed, the process will begin again next year so the lists will remain constantly updated."

Anita Tatum, Alabama’s director of voter registration, has been working with county registrars to ensure all procedures are followed in a timely and legal manner.

Names that were published were those voters who could not be contacted by registrar offices across the state and who have not voted for the past four years.

The procedure is part of the voter verification system adopted by the Alabama Legislature in 1996 to comply with the National Voter Registration Act.

Since then, more than 440,000 names have been place on an inactive list and, by the end of the month, 200,000 will be removed from that list.

"We’ve made a lot of progress in the last four years, as far as keeping the poll list clean," Morgan said.

Bennett said, as part of the voter verification effort, the state has "cleaned up the rolls in all 67 counties significantly.

"Almost a quarter-million dead or relocated voters are being removed now as part of the state’s continuing efforts.

That act required all counties to send non-forwardable postcards to all registered voters in 1997. If the postcard was delivered successfully to the voter, no further action was taken.

In the cases where postcards were returned as undeliverable, registrars sent a second car, forwardable card, asking the voter to update information on file. If the postcard was returned or received no response, the voter was placed on the "inactive" list.

Voters who did not update their information or cast a vote by the end of the Nov. 7 General Election were flagged for removal from the county’s voter list, which was printed in The Messenger on Dec. 13 and 20.

After the names are purged from the lists, the process will begin again with postcards going out to all voters at the end of January.

Then, counties will mail postcards every four years, Morgan said.