Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2008

County voters can register online

June 19, 2008

Douglas County is making it easier to register to vote.

No longer do you have to mail or personally drop off a registration form at the county clerk's office. You can do it by fax or by sending a document file by e-mail.

"It just adds another way that people can register," County Clerk Jamie Shew said. "I think it provides a lot more accessibility for voters."

Voter registration forms can be downloaded at www.douglascountyelections.com. The PDF form can be printed, filled out and scanned back into the computer to be sent by e-mail to Keith Campbell, deputy clerk for elections, at kcampbell@douglas-county.com. The forms can also be faxed to 832-5192.

The county Web site also has other information about voting, including a list of sites where forms can be picked up. But a signed registration form must be returned in some way to the county clerk's office, 1100 Mass., or the county treasurer's satellite office in Baldwin City, in the Baldwin City Market, 112 Eighth St.

Kansas counties are making the new registration processes available at their discretion, Shew said.

Anyone who has moved since the last election needs to re-register under his or her new address. Voters who have changed names also need to re-register.

Voters can check that they are registered and their address is correct by visiting the Web site.

"It just helps everybody out," Shew said. "It helps people who show up at the wrong voting place - they still get to vote provisionally - but it helps if people get to the right place."

Shew expects the Nov. 4 general election to cause considerably more interest this year because of the presidential election and because of local interest in county commission and U.S. congressional races.

"I anticipate we're going to have a very high turnout in November - as much as 80 to 85 percent (of registered voters)," Shew said.

The last presidential election in 2004 drew a 79 percent turnout, he said.

Shew's office is making a concerted effort to purge registration lists of the names of people who have moved out of the county. People who leave the county remain on the registration list through two federal general elections before they can be removed unless they inform the clerk and sign a document. Workers spend considerable time trying to track down people they think have moved, Shew said.

In April, a new card was developed and sent to 6,000 people who may have moved, according to a National Change of Address list issued by the federal government. So far, 1,600 have been signed and returned.

"That has worked pretty well, and they are still coming back," he said.

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