|Address changes create voter registration havoc; over 1,000 registered voters already in limbo due to faulty addresses|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Feb. 13, 2004 -- With the date for the primary elections a little more than 30 days off, the final day to register to vote in that election is Monday, according to Debbie Jenkins, Hopkins County Tax Assessor/Collector and voter registrar.
But many residents will not be eligible to vote March 9 unless they come in to Jenkins' office by Monday to update their addresses.
Jenkins said Thursday that major problems have developed for a large number of voters whose residential addresses were changed to reflect the new 911 address.
The 911 changes for Como, Pickton and Winnsboro became effective more than a year ago, and some residents have still not contacted the Hopkins County voter registrar's office with the new address information that is required to be a registered voter.
The voter registrar said the post offices that handle mail for those communities did provide her office with the updated address information which, according to state law, can be used to document an address.
In Sulphur Springs, the post office was able to forward the majority of the voter registration cards because the addresses changed within the past year, but those voters must still come in to the county tax office to update their address information for the voter registration lists if they wish to vote in the upcoming primary election.
"Yes, it's going to affect getting it all changed," Jenkins said Thursday. "If the card comes back to us and we don't have a correct address to go by, it puts the voter on suspense."
If a voter stays on suspense for two years without having an address correction, Jenkins said the names would be purged, or removed from the county's voter registration list.
There are more than 18,500 registered voters in Hopkins County. According to the voter registrar's office, more than 1,000 are on suspense status because of faulty addresses - and that number does not include the newly discovered problems.
"I can tell you that I got 350 back from Como," Jenkins said. "And that is just not even a dent in what we've gotten back."
Those with addresses that have changed within the past year and received a voter registration card that was forwarded by the post office to their new address will have until Monday to get their new addresses to Jenkins' office.
"The customer is actually supposed to sign a card with their new address," Jenkins said. "It's a statement of residence, and they're supposed to sign that and date it."
The 2004 voter registration cards were mailed by Jenkins' office in mid-January/ Anyone who did not receive their registration card must go by the county Tax Assessor/Collector's office (118 Main St., south of the courthouse) no later than Monday in order to be able to vote in the March 9 primary elections.