In Brief

State mailing voters for registration list ‘cleaning’

By: - May 17, 2023 10:31 am

A view of the postcards going out to Hoosier voters as part of regular updates to the state’s voter list. (Courtesy Indiana Secretary of State)

Did you find an unexpected postcard in your mailbox recently? Hoosier voters are receiving the tidy black-and-white registration mailers as part of routine voter list “maintenance,” according to Secretary of State Diego Morales’ office.

“One of my top priorities is to clean the voter rolls,” Morales said in a news release Tuesday. “These postcards help ensure more accurate voter registration lists on a county and statewide level. This update will give us a clearer picture of voter turnout and protecting the integrity of our elections.”

If the name is correct, residents don’t have to take any action for an initial card. But if addressed to someone else, the card instructs recipients to write “return to sender” on the front and put it back in the mail.

Another view of the cards. (Courtesy Indiana Secretary of State)

If the U.S. Postal Service can’t deliver a card, the service will send a second card to a forwardable address on file. That second mailer will ask a voter to confirm or update the address, or cancel a voter registration entirely, by filling out and returning the card. It’ll have pre-paid postage.

Morales’ office noted the list update is required by state and federal law as “part of ongoing effort to identify outdated, duplicate, and inaccurate voter registrations.” The office’s bipartisan Indiana Election Division conducts statewide maintenance every two years, in between federal elections, according to a spokeswoman.

County voter registration boards can cancel voter registrations flagged during the process, but only if that registration isn’t used to vote in two successive federal elections, according to the release.

“The intention and design of voter list maintenance is to identify inaccurate, outdated, duplicate registrations, not to cancel registrations of voters,” spokeswoman Lindsey Eaton wrote to the Capital Chronicle.

Hoosier voters can also fix or update their registrations online, or in person at a local county clerk’s office. While federal law requires the postcard method, Eaton said Morales was looking to do more.

“As Indiana’s Chief Elections Officer, I am committed to making sure Hoosiers are confident at the polls,” Morales concluded in the release. “We will continue to look for creative ways for voters to update their registration.”

This story has been updated with comments from the Office of the Secretary of State.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our website. AP and Getty images may not be republished. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of any other photos and graphics.

Leslie Bonilla Muñiz
Leslie Bonilla Muñiz

Leslie covers state government for the Indiana Capital Chronicle with emphases on elections, infrastructure and transportation. She previously covered city-county government for the Indianapolis Business Journal. She has also reported on local, national and international news for the Chicago Tribune, Voice of America and more. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Indiana Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.