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January 28, 2004

48 Disenfranchised Hours

"King County has received notification that you no longer live at the address indicated on your voter registration. We have placed your name in our inactive voter file until we hear from you."

Because it's long and full of bureaucracy, I've posted the true story of my brief but harrowing stint as a 'disenfranchised' voter here. The short - but as of yet unconfirmed - story is that if you are going to insist on spending an extended time abroad, you should try to avoid being called for jury duty.

Also, here's a handy link to online voter registration. Just in case.

Posted by pam at January 28, 2004 12:53 AM | TrackBack
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Comments

Great story, Pam. It looks like the electoral office needs better spin. Just like you, I'd guess that if I was put into an "inactive" status that I'd become ineligible to vote, but it seems that's not the case. It does seem reasonable to me that if you are somehow flagged as "gone" and don't vote in two successive elections and they notify you about the situation, that the electoral roll should be updated (if only to get accurate counts of participation statistics).

I still think compulsory voting (as they have in my home country of Australia) is a great idea. For one thing, it renders the concept of "ineligible to vote" totally moot.

Posted by: david on January 28, 2004 12:36 PM

I've learned a little more in the last day or so about the whole "inactive" thing. Inactive voter signatures are considered invalid on petitions. Also, it should come as a surprise to no one that many of the Florida voters who had trouble at the polls were inactive without knowing it. Just casting a ballot should have restored their status, but in down in Florida, inactive voters were told they needed to present additional types of ID to verify their identity, and many were unprepared. At any rate, it shouldn't be so easy to become 'inactive.'

Tracy at the Wa Sect'y of State office has been great in helping me understand what might have happened, though the source of the problem is King County. She says they're a labyrinth and it could take a while to find anything out from them. That must explain why they haven't answered my mail.

Voting is required here in Austria too and I agree, compulsory voting seems like a good idea. I often wonder what our government would look like if more than 28% of the population voted.

Posted by: pam on January 28, 2004 11:14 PM
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