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Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz
Indianapolis, IN - Today, the State of Indiana continues the test of its new statewide voter file that will help local election administrators better manage voter rolls so as to reduce duplicates, remove voters who have passed away, and make the election process more accurate and efficient. Today's portion of the weeklong test includes pollbook generation and the processing of the returns of absentee ballots and applications. The state has focused on improving the ability for county officials to download and print pollbooks, and will be paying close attention to this enhancement during the returns from Tuesday's mock election.
The purpose of the mock election is to test basic registration and election processes, identify any new challenges or concerns that arise during use of the system, to afford county users an opportunity to utilize suggested backups for known issues, and to increase user familiarity with the new system. A test such as this and the anomalies uncovered thus far are consistent with technology projects of this size. The state is currently in the post-implementation cleanup phase of the state voter file system's lifecycle.
According to Electionline.org, a nonpartisan group dedicated to reporting on election reform, Indiana is currently the only state to conduct a statewide mock election or other such extensive testing of their state's voter file. Indiana's ability to even conduct a mock election is the direct result of the completion and implementation of its voter file before the federally mandated deadline of January 1, 2006 to have such a system online. At last count, a fourth of all states had yet to have any statewide voter file in operation despite this deadline. Electionline.org recently released a report examining election reform around the country and found that efforts to upgrade voting equipment and registration databases had been delayed in nearly half of the states. Indiana is not among them.
On Monday, county officials were able to add, update or transfer more than 2,429 voter registration transactions. Post-test reports from Monday's second phase of the mock election indicate that the new system also successfully processed more than 526 Department of Health and Department of Correction records and 982 mail-in absentee ballot applications. This stage of the mock election also tested the standardized verification of voter addressees - a feature previously unavailable to most Indiana counties before the new system.
There are 4,333,360 voter records on file in Indiana and SVRS has identified 290,522 possible duplicate registrations. Direct links to the Department of Health and the Department of Correction have revealed 28,845 potential matches for deceased voters as well as 5,645 incarcerated voters.
Friday was the first day of mock election and represented the first phase of testing on the state's new voter file. Overall speed and processing results for voter registration petitions exceeded county expectations. "The petition process was incredibly fast," said Marion County Voter Registration Board Member Kyle Walker.