Election office warns of voter registration fraud
by Jason Lowrey
Sep 02, 2014 | 1571 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After one incident was reported to the office last month, the Bartow County Voter Registration and Elections Office is warning county residents to be aware of fraudulent registration workers who may be looking to steal personal information.

Election Supervisor Joseph Kirk said his office received a call from a resident after she spoke to a man claiming to be involved in a registration drive. Kirk said the man was described as being “too pushy” in trying to get her to register and something did not feel right.

“We’ve only had one report of something that might be fraudulent that I forwarded along to a state investigator and I haven’t heard back yet how his investigation’s going,” Kirk said. “... But since we were already thinking about it, we thought it would be a good time to put the word out there to people just to give them a heads up of what to watch out for.

“... I know there’s a lot of groups that are doing drives. Any time you’ve got folks knocking on doors like that, on a state level — which is what’s happening right now — there’s going to be someone who sees the opportunity for fraud.”

The election office formed a list of tips to help county residents understand the difference between a legitimate registration drive and those attempting identity theft. Deputy registrars will be “clearly designated” with an official name tag from the county they are serving or from the secretary of state’s office. Private drives require certain notices as well, while door-to-door drives are “very unusual.”

The main key, Kirk said, is all information involved with voter registration must be sealed after the resident fills out the card.

“[What] we train folks to is, if they’re going to bring the cards back to us, the person seals it and then gives it back to you. That way the information is never there for anyone else to see. The only way around that is they actually get deputized as a deputy registrar, but ... that hasn’t happened in over a year in Bartow,” he said.

An alternative to filling out and sealing a card is to receive a registration card from a volunteer, fill it out and mail it yourself, Kirk added.

“But if they’re standing there saying, ‘Fill this out. Don’t seal it. Let me take it with me,’ that’s where the fraud comes in,” he said.

Kirk said the woman who called his office believed something was amiss when she saw the man’s clipboard held a card from her neighbor and all her personal information was in full view. That is not allowed, Kirk said.

The election office asks any residents who are suspicious of a registration attempt to make note of the person’s name and the organization they work for.

For those who do wish to register, Kirk said the state’s online process is easy, as it requires only a Georgia driver’s license or ID. The online registration option is available on the secretary of state’s website at https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov/GAOLVR/#no-back-button.

If any county resident believes they have been approached by a fraudulent registration drive, they are asked to call the county elections office at 770-387-5098.