While it’s a non-election year in Indiana, counties across the state have taken action to clean up voter registration lists. The Indiana Election Commission set a deadline of March 10 to remove inactive voters, who have not voted since 2014. Vigo County purged inactive voters on March 7. The county cut its voter registration list 10.5 percent — 7,960 voters — resulting in the county’s voter registration dipping to 71,558 from 79,518. “We knew we had a lot of voters who no longer live here,” said Robert Lawson Jr., co-director of the Vigo County Voter Registration department.
Terre Haute is unique, Lawson said, as it is home to several colleges and universities – Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Ivy Tech Community College, St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and Harrison College. College towns are often “where people move in and people move on,” Lawson said.
Some “people vote one time and never vote again after registering and move away, but never remove their name from the poll list,” Lawson said. Most often, he said, it is college students registering to vote in a presidential election.
Cleaning up the state’s voter registration lists stems from action from two voter watchdog groups, Judicial Watch and True The Vote, which sued Indiana in 2012, claiming the state failed to maintain clean voter registration lists. Their lawsuit was dropped in June 2014 after the Indiana General Assembly approved changes to election laws.