Thursday, August 27th, 2009
By William Kincaid
Board reviewing 200 canceled voter registrations
The cancellation of more than 200 voter registrations by the Mercer County Board of Elections office staff has been called into question and is being reviewed by a bi-partisan committee of the Mercer County Election Board.
An internal investigation - spanning four executive sessions - was launched late last month after one of the elections office's part-time clerks noticed irregularities with several canceled voter registrations.
Details about the executive sessions, which are closed to the public, were revealed on Wednesday afternoon during a lengthy board meeting - which included another three-hour executive session - lasting from 9 a.m. to around 3 p.m.
Voter registrations can be canceled for three reasons - death, change in residency or voter inactivity, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Andy Hinders. Hinders is legal adviser to the elections board.
The investigation began after one of the clerks reported to board members suspected problems with a number of canceled voter registrations.
On July 31, Hinders said he removed 200 canceled registration forms from a board of election office and locked them in his office for security purposes.
"We don't believe proper procedures were followed," Hinders said.
A bi-partisan committee consisting of board members Toni Slusser, a Republican, and Mark Uhlenhake, a Democrat, then reviewed the list of cancellations in Hinders' office.
They physically looked through a number of the voter registration cancellations in question and found discrepancies from the procedure required by the revised code and the Secretary of State, said Hinders, who was asked by board members to comment on the situation.
Hinders stressed the November General Election will not be affected by the discrepancies.
Board members will review all voter registrations cancellations over a period of two to four days and take corrective actions to reinstate any voter registrations that were wrongfully terminated.
Hinders said he was unsure how many months back board members will have to look at canceled voter registrations to ensure all are accounted for and correct.
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Partly cloudy, breezy