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House File 2643, a bill passed earlier this year addressing election law, seems to make clear what information is necessary for a voter to fill in when it comes to submitting an absentee ballot request form.

The bill amended current law and requires the registered voter to provide their name and signature, date of birth, address where they are registered to vote, voter verification number, name or date of the election and any other information necessary to determine the correct absentee ballot for the registered voter.

The bill, as amended, says that information shall be provided by the registered voter.

When reading law, it’s important to understand that “shall” really means must. “May” is the elective term.

An email from the Secretary of State’s legal counsel seems to indicate some auditors plan on filling in the voter ID number on voters’ request forms prior to sending them.

That is illegal.

Auditors are not allowed to fill it in afterward, but some apparently believe filling it in ahead of time is OK. How that conclusion can be reached is unknown.

The Secretary of State’s legal counsel has warned against doing this.

If a county auditor does indeed violate the law, a judge can throw them out of office.

County auditors would be wise to make sure they follow the law. Registered voters should have relatively easy access to their own driver’s license number.

Surely if a customer calls his or her bank to inquire about their account, they wouldn’t be comfortable with the bank providing the information necessary to access the account.

Responsibility is part of the deal when someone becomes an adult.

And following election law seems to be a reasonable expectation when becoming a county auditor.

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall