TN - Despite Motor Voter glitch, residents wonBt be driven away from ballot box : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Friday, 11/03/00


Tennesseans who registered to vote when they received or renewed their driverBs licenses, but were surprised to find they werenBt registered to vote at all, will still have a chance to exercise their civic duty, according to Brook Thompson, state coordinator of elections.

"We are working with the Department of Safety to make sure that anyone who indicated they wanted to register to vote will get that opportunity.BB

Because of several glitches, information about a number of voters statewide who thought they registered via Motor Voter, the program that allows registration at the driverBs license bureau, did not reach the local election commission.

"Some people checked the mark saying they wanted to register, but they did not do the second part of the process, which is to ask for a voter registration application,BB said Dana Keeton, spokeswoman for the Department of Safety.

"Just checking the box wonBt get you registered.BB

Thompson said that explains some of the problem. "But more of it has to do with the fact that weBre talking about thousands and thousands of forms and some of them slipped through the cracks.

"This has happened before. In 1996 we had some of this. The presidential races bring a lot of people out. For some people itBs the only election they vote in.BB

Statewide, Thompson estimated, the problem has affected hundreds of voters, although he couldnBt say exactly how many.

"WeBve had about 15,BB said Nancy Boman, administrator of elections in Putnam County.

In Wilson County, Lynn Harris said her office had encountered less than 10 cases. ThatBs among more than 10,000 who have voted since early balloting began.

Donna DeBerry, who holds the same post in Warren County, reported only one case.

"And we got it all straightened out so that they could get to vote.BB

The remedy is not efficient, but it is effective. If someone claims to have registered to vote at the driverBs license bureau, a call or fax is placed to the Department of Safety, where each personBs driverBs license application is pulled to see whether the voter registration box has been checked.

If it is, then the person is allowed to register and vote.

If the box is blank, the individual will have to register at a later date, for a later election.

Safety spokeswoman Keeton said her department will have someone on call Tuesday to answer questions from election commissions throughout the state.

But Thompson urged people who think they have this problem to go ahead and contact their county election commission so the process can be started.

"Please donBt wait until Tuesday,BB he said.

-- Doris (, November 03, 2000

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