With voter registration drives intensifying across North Carolina in advance of the Oct. 10 deadline, voters should check to make sure their registration applications aren’t in limbo.
A non-partisan, non-profit group called Project Vote has posted a list of rejected voter applications in counties across the nation, including Durham County. The list, posted at projectvote2008.org, includes more than 2,000 names.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people in the United States who filed registration applications but were not put on the voter rolls because of actual or alleged defects in their applications,” said a statement on the site. “If you know any of them, please contact them immediately and let them know they have to fix the problem immediately.”
Michael Perry, deputy director of the Durham County Board of Elections, confirmed that the posted list is the one he provided to the organization by e-mail some time in the last 30 days. He added that the list on the Project Vote Web site may not be up to date.
Perry said 2,375 voter registration applications were in the county’s reject queue as of Oct. 6.
Election officials reject a voter registration application if it’s not filled out correctly, completely or legibly. “The first thing we do is send out a reject letter telling them what the problem is with their form,” Perry said. “The people on this list have not responded to that reject letter that was sent to them.”
In some cases, that’s because the address was incorrect or missing from the application, “so it doesn’t matter how many mailings we send to them, they’re never going to get it.” For that reason, Perry said he supports Project Vote’s call to let people know they’re on the list.
About 30 of the names on the reject list are Duke University students, according to the addresses they provided.
Alison Kibbe, a Duke freshman volunteering with the Barack Obama campaign, said campus organizers are aware of the list and are taking action. “We talked to a lot of people who’d gotten letters, and we re-registered them.” She said organizers also plan to track down the e-mail addresses of people on the list and contact those who had not received letters, “just to make sure they know.”
Those students can also take advantage of same-day registration during one-stop early voting, which will be offered on Duke’s campus for the first time this year.
Anyone in North Carolina can check his or her voter registration online at the State Board of Elections Web site.
If you find your registration is not in order, you have until Friday, Oct. 10, to submit a registration form, or you can register and vote on the same day during early voting, Oct. 16 through Nov. 1.