Rokita Hails Passage of Election Reform Bill
Contact: Cam Savage
Indianapolis, IN - Late Thursday evening the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 72, a signature piece of Secretary of State Todd Rokita's 2004 legislative agenda. Senate Enrolled Act 72 addresses public confidence in the integrity of voting systems and makes possible the further implementation of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Also included in SEA 72 are much needed measures that will allow counties, through a series of controlled actions, to purge county voting rolls of voters who are deceased or no longer residents of the county.
"This is another significant election reform victory. For the second year in a row we've passed important legislation that will drastically improve the way we conduct elections in Indiana," Rokita said.
The following is a partial list of provisions championed by Secretary Rokita
- Permits a county voter registration office to conduct the county's own voter list maintenance program under NVRA. Provides that the county must mail an NVRA notice to every registered voter in the county. Permits returned jury service notices, USPS address information, and certain BMV records to also be used as the basis for sending the NVRA notice to the voter. Provides that the registration of a voter who does not respond to the is reclassified as an "inactive registration" and must be cancelled by the county voter registration office after the second general election.
- Provides that when poll lists are returned from precincts following the close of the polls, the information set forth on the poll list can be used to update the county voter registration records. (The current list of specific types of information is replaced by the generic reference.) This updating would be permitted at any time after registration reopens following the election.
- Prohibits a proposed voting system improvement or change from being marketed, sold, leased, or installed in Indiana before Indiana election commission approval. Provides that if a vendor violates this restriction, the commission can revoke an existing voting system approval and prohibit the vendor from engaging in these activities in Indiana for a specific period of up to 5 years. Specifies that if a voting system approval is revoked, the vendor may continue to provide support to a county during the specified period, subject to restrictions. Corrects references to voting system (rather than vendor) approval. (SECTIONS 7-13, 18-21)
- Requires voting system approval application to be submitted under the penalties of perjury, and to contain information listed on current application form. Provides that Indiana election commission cannot consider the application until all required elements of the application are filed with the Election Division. (SECTION 17)
- Requires that a vendor's application for the Indiana election commission to be made under the penalties for perjury. Adds information currently required on the application form prescribed by the commission. Specifies that if an application does not contain any required components when filed with the election division, these requirements must be met before the application is considered by the commission.
- Provides that the commission must approve the vendor's application before the voting system can be marketed, sold, leased, installed, or implemented in Indiana, and that if the commission permits a non-emergency change to a current voting system without a new application, the vendor must first certify to the commission that the change has not been marketed, sold, leased, installed, or implemented in Indiana.
- Requires a vendor to apply for reexamination of a voting system if the commission determines that an improvement or change requires reexamination of the voting system.
"As is often the case with the legislative process, other election reforms fell victim to the "art of compromise." I was disappointed to learn that the important absentee ballot restrictions encouraged by my office and the Lake County Election Integrity Subcommittee will not become law this year. I feel strongly that absentee ballot procedures must be strengthened and I am committed to working with the legislature to achieve these needed reforms in 2005," Rokita said.
"Until then, I will continue to educate the public about the absentee ballot process and work with election administrators to improve procedures under the current law that will reduce absentee ballot fraud," Rokita said.
Rokita thanked Senator Sue Landske and Senator Billie Breaux, the sponsors of the legislation, for their many months of work to pass SEA 72.