Time to update your voter registration


The elections are over. Phew. Now, be prepared for the next visit to the polls early and verify your voter registration information.

Every four years the Alabama Secretary of State’s office undertakes a series of methodical, time consuming steps to verify the eligibility of Alabama voters.

First, the registrar culls the voting list to help clear the rolls of people who have moved or stopped voting. They start by advertising the names of individuals who have not voted in the last four years. That list was published in early January.

Anyone on the list who doesn’t contact the state to verify their registration is removed from the voter rolls. Note, these people are recorded as having not voted in four years.

Second, the registrar’s office mails a post card to everyone who did vote recently. Voters should check the information on the card and verify it is correct.

If your information is right, do nothing. If it is wrong, contact the board of registrars.

Third, any postcard that is returned to the state due to an undeliverable address is sent again, but with the help of a forwarding service in an effort to catch up with any voter who has moved.

If that second postcard is returned as undeliverable, the voter is marked as inactive but stays on the voter rolls another four years. If they haven’t voted in those four years, they move to the publicly published list and eventually expunged from the rolls.

Jeff Elrod, supervisor of voter registration in Alabama, said the lengthy process helps maintain the integrity of the voter rolls while giving voters plenty of time to update their information.

“It is a lengthy process before someone is removed, it actually takes about four years,” Elrod said. “No one is immediately stricken from the rolls.”

Elrod encourages residents to regularly update their voter registration information.

“Even if you are just moving down the street, you still need to update your information. That could affect your precinct and you could have a new polling place on the other side of town,” he said.