The voter registration system linked to the Driver’s License Department is having problems. Not only is the voter registration deadline experiencing issues, but so are party changes.
According to Daviess County Clerk Leslie McCarty, these issues affect party changes and voter registration for anyone who since Nov. 7 has gotten a driver’s license for the first time, made a name change or party change via driver’s license, or made an address change via their license.
Each time someone in Daviess County performs any of these acts, their voter registration is updated, McCarty explained.
“As the process of catching up from where the voter registration books were closed for the November General Election, the County Clerk’s Office noticed issues with reports from Driver’s License in the first week of December with them not printing any records from individuals who were issued or renewed their license,” she said.
When someone goes to the driver’s license department and gets an ID, any of the aforementioned changes that are made affects your voter registration per “the Motor Vehicle Law,” which is another name for the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. McCarty said this act is designed to reverse declining voter registration by allowing voters to register at motor vehicle departments.
As explained by McCarty, when the County Clerk’s books are closed during full Election mode, the reports from driver’s license aren’t always processed on the usual daily basis, so the County Clerk’s Office doesn’t see there’s a problem until everything’s caught up after the election.
Getting caught back up takes some time, McCarty said, because the priority after Election Day is to review and verify the counts and documents so the certification is accurate before a grand jury report is put together and the poll worker payroll is completed.
“This year, we noticed in the first week of December that nothing was coming from driver’s license (department),” McCarty said. “We contacted our VRS (Voter Registration System) staff at the State Board of Elections and let them know what we were experiencing. They said they’d get back to us.”
However, the next week came and went, and the County Clerk’s Office received nothing from the driver’s license department.
“Circuit Court Clerk Jennifer Besecker worked with us to try and get us a report from her records and began having her customers complete hard copy voter registration cards,” McCarty said. “She has continued to do that up until now as a precaution because we still are having different issues from the system.”
During a County Clerk’s Training attended by McCarty, it was discovered that the voter registration issues had occurred from Nov. 7-Dec. 12 and that some software rollouts should resolve the issue.
Since that time, the County Clerk’s Office is still experiencing issues, McCarty said.
With no firm answer from anyone at the Commonwealth Office of Technology (COT) or VRS, the County Clerk’s Office says they are monitoring the problem and that COT rolled out an update to try and fix this issue last weekend.
Under these circumstances, and the fact that Party Changes for next election must be completed by Tuesday to allow for voters to cast their ballots in the Primary, the County Clerk’s Office is asking the community to do the following:
— Anyone who went to Driver’s License since Nov. 7 should be advised to check their registration status by clicking here or calling the County Clerk’s Office at 270-685-8434 Ext. 3.
— Voters wishing to make a change can visit GoVoteKY.com or come to the County Clerk’s Office and complete a voter registration card. Any card that is mailed into the County Clerk’s Office must be postmarked by Dec. 31.
— Voters who make party changes after Dec. 31 will be ineligible to vote in any partisan (Republican or Democratic) primary to be held on May 19, 2020, though all voters are eligible to vote in the Nov. 3 Presidential General Election.