Thousands of people are at risk of being removed from Bartholomew County voter registration rolls if they fail to vote this year.
Of the county’s 49,517 registered voters, 3,746 of them are classified as inactive, county elections supervisor Shari Lentz said.
The current number of registered adults is down 5 percent from the 52,152 eligible to cast their ballots four years ago.
A person is classified as inactive after official mail is sent to them from state or local elections officials, but the correspondence is returned as undeliverable, deputy elections supervisor Taylor Seagraves said.
If an inactive voter misses two federal general elections, their names are removed from the voter rolls, Lentz said.
But if an inactive voters does cast ballots in either this year’s May primary or November’s general election, they will automatically be returned to active status, Seagraves said.
Their first chance to do that will be when early voting for the May 8 primary begins April 10, less than a month away.
Until April 9, the county voter registration office at the Courthouse continues to accept new voter registrations or address changes.
The number of new registrations being filed this year has been fairly typical — steady, but not heavy, Lentz said.
“Once the campaigning gets into full swing, I think we’ll see a lot more interest,” Lentz said.
Normally, residents don’t start getting interested in primaries until after campaign signs start going up in late March, she said.
Interest increases in April after spring weather returns, as well as when campaign ads or information starts appearing in the media, she said.
But frequently, midterm primary elections tend to generate more yawns than excitement in the Columbus area.
Less than 20 percent of eligible Bartholomew County voters cast midterm election ballots in both the 2010 and 2014 primaries.
In comparison, the most recent three primaries held during presidential election years drew an average of 52.4 percent of registered voters.
“Some people only vote when we’re electing a president,” Seagraves said.
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The last day to register to vote in Bartholomew County for the May 8 primary is April 9.
A registration application may be picked up at the voter registration office on the first floor of the Bartholomew County Courthouse, 234 Washington St.
Applications can also be downloaded by going to bartholomew.in.gov and clicking on the following links:
- Election information
- Voter registration documents
- Public information
- VRG-7 Voter Registration application.
Mail or hand deliver the completed application to the voter registration office. You will be sent a notice acknowledging receipt of your application.
Early primary voting begins April 10. New voters will need to provide proof of current residence before casting a ballot.
Besides government-issued identification with photo such as a driver’s licenses, voters can also use current utility bills, bank statements, government checks, paychecks or government forms that list name and address to either prove residency or change their address on their current registration.
Indiana residents with a valid state driver’s license or a state-issued identification card can submit a new voter-registration application or update existing voter-registration information online. Visit indianavoters.com