Voters urged to check registration
before next election

By Staff
July 25, 2004
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
The Lauderdale County Circuit Clerk's office is reminding voters to make sure their voter registration information is correct if they want their vote to count in November's general election.
According to Circuit Clerk Donna Jill Johnson, many people could be shocked in November when they go to the polls to vote and find out they are not properly registered.
Johnson said it is the voter's responsibility to let the circuit clerk's office know about their change of address.
Johnson's office sends out letters monthly with new voter registration cards asking voters to review their card for any corrections or changes. If information needs to be updated, changes can be made on the back of the card and returned to her office.
If a voter starts using a post office box, or stops using a post office box as his or her mailing address, Johnson said her office needs to be notified of that.
In June of 2003, when the county's voting precincts changed, Johnson said more than 40,000 voter registration cards were mailed to Lauderdale County voters. She said anyone who did not get a new card in June of last year, or since then, may have had an address change that was not recorded or there may be a problem with their address.
The county's precinct lines for supervisor districts, Senate, House, school board, justice court, and constables are all different, so the slightest change of address could make a difference in what precinct a voter is in.
Ann Watts is the Lauderdale County Election Commissioner for District 1 and chairperson of the Lauderdale County Election Commission.
At the polls
Johnson also said first time voters who registered through the mail this year will be required to show identification at the polls. The voter identification requirement is part of the federal "Help America Vote Act," developed in response to voting problems experienced in the 2000 presidential election in Florida.
This year the Legislature passed a bill to put the state in compliance with the act, which makes Mississippi eligible for $34 million to be received over a three year period to improve its voting machines.
Watts said Lauderdale County will have to change to Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines by 2006.
Voters must be registered 30 days prior to an election to vote. The general election is Nov. 2.
If a voter goes to the polls and finds out they are not registered under the right address, they can vote by affidavit. But the voter must do so at the polling place in the precinct where they live.

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