Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office has begun conducting its voter canvass to verify the residency of suburban Cook County voters prior to the November 2 presidential election.
"Making sure our records are up-to-date will prevent opportunities to commit voter fraud and protect against disenfranchisement," Orr said. "We want the voter rolls as clean and accurate as possible before the November election."
Each of the 1.3 million registered voters living in suburban Cook County will receive a voter canvass postcard, which postal officials have been instructed not to forward. If postal records indicate that the voter has moved, the post office will automatically return the card to the Clerk’s office.
It is important for voters to identify the card to successfully participate in the canvass. An image of a stop sign appears on the front of each post card to distinguish it from other mail. Cook County residents who receive a card are asked to respond one of two ways:
- If the information on the card – stating that a person is registered to vote at that address – is correct, the voter needs to do nothing more.
- If a card is delivered to an address where a voter no longer lives, the current resident should cross out the name and address printed on the card and drop it in the mail.
The Clerk’s office will send a follow-up notice to any voters whose cards are returned. The post office will be instructed to send the second notice to a forwarding address if it is available.
Upon receiving the forwarded notice, a voter can confirm that he or she has moved or correct any mistakes. If the voter has relocated to an address within suburban Cook County, the voter registration will be transferred to the new residence and kept active.
If the second notice cannot be forwarded, the post office will return the card to the Clerk’s office and the name of the voter will be placed in the inactive voter file. No voter will be removed or purged from the registration lists as a result of the voter canvass. Any voter who is placed on the inactive list may still vote in the November 2 election by completing a form verifying their name and address.
"We want to get the word out to renters, who tend to move more frequently, and to parents whose children have moved out," Orr said.
Responding to the mail canvass also makes good financial sense, Orr added. Every election, the county must prepare and print ballots and other election materials for each registered voter.
"The key to a successful, comprehensive canvass is help and participation from the public," Orr said. "Despite our size as one of the largest election authorities in the nation, we like to pride ourselves on keeping accurate records of voters."