Terre Haute legislator Clyde Kersey’s bill to establish automatic voter registration in Indiana through Bureau of Motor Vehicles will get a hearing today in the Indiana House Elections and Apportionment Committee. But the proposal’s “automatic” element will likely be diminished. Instead of applicants for BMV licenses and identification cards being automatically registered as voters, simultaneously, BMV employees would be required to ask customers if they want to become registered to vote. “So it’s an improvement, but a small improvement,” said Kersey. He’s a Democrat, whose party is vastly outnumbered by the Republican super majority in the House.
Rep. Milo Smith, a Columbus Republican and committee chairman, said Tuesday afternoon that Kersey’s House Bill 1178 is scheduled for a hearing today.
Under Kersey’s bill, as originally written, applications for a driver’s license or permit, or an identification card through the BMV would serve as a voter registration application, unless the applicant expressly declines on the application his or her voter registration. “For some reason, [Smith] didn’t like that,” Kersey said.
In a message to the Tribune-Star on Tuesday, Smith said, “I will be offering some amendments to clarify my intent, asking everyone if they want to register to vote when the come in the BMV. And we’ll see what the committee thinks.”
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