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Louisiana elections chief concerned about identity theft
From: Erica Absetz <eabsetz () opensecurityfoundation org>
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2013 13:33:13 -0500


BATON ROUGE, La. — If you registered to vote at a table set up at a
mall or some other place where volunteers were signing up new voters
in Louisiana, you took a chance that your identity could have been

Secretary of State Tom Schedler and the State Board of Election
Supervisors are asking the Legislature to add protections that could
make it safer to register at such events. That's one of several law
changes that will be suggested to the Legislature.

"If you want to steal people's identity, just set up a table to
register people to vote," Schedler said Wednesday at a meeting of the
House and Governmental Affairs Committee. He said he's not suggesting
that people do that, but prospective voters should beware and make
sure that it's a legitimate registration drive before supplying
personal information.

Registration forms ask for Social Security numbers and other personal
identification, and anyone who wanted more could add it to the form.
"It's amazing to me, in this day and time, that people would go up to
a total stranger and give all that personal information," said Fred
Gwin, head of the fraud division in Schedler's office.

Gwin said one woman came to the polls to vote in the presidential
election claiming she registered to vote at such a drive, but there
was no record of her registration being turned in.

One way to combat the problem, as proposed by the election
supervisors, would be to register those who conduct registration
drives. Another proposal is to make it a felony to copy someone's
voter registration. Another proposed change in election law is to
allow registrars of voters to make changes, at the request of voters,
in the addresses of active voters. Currently, the law says registrars
can change only inactive voters who report address changes when

Schelder also is proposing that he no longer has to publish in each
parish's official journal the names of inactive voters before
presidential elections. He said it costs several hundred thousand
dollars to print the names, and he has better uses for the money, like
funding museums.

To become inactive, a voter has to miss every election in a
four-to-five-year period that includes two federal elections. A card
is mailed to the last known address for voters to renew registration,
but if no card is returned, that voter goes into an inactive file and
can't vote until a renewal is posted.

Schedler questions, "By what logic would that person wake up one
morning and buy a newspaper to see if their name was there?... The
concept that without this one-day printing the world ending is false."

Another proposal would align qualifying for being on the presidential
ballot with qualifying for other offices on the same ballot. In the
latest election, qualifying ran a week later, which delayed printing
of ballots.
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