Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said Monday she has marked 696,000 registrations "inactive" as part of her efforts to clean up to the state's rolls of voters.
Lawson announced that a postcard drive to identify invalid voter registrations would help restore "integrity" to the state's voter rolls. Registered voters were asked to update their voting address by July 24. If the postcards were returned as undeliverable or not returned by the due date, the registration was marked "inactive." However, if someone from an "inactive" address goes to the polls by November 2016, that registration automatically becomes active again.
"I am committed to protecting the voting process here in Indiana by making sure that each county has accurate voter registration lists," Lawson said in a statement Monday.
The cleanup stems from a June 2012 lawsuit filed by voter watchdog groups Judicial Watch and True the Vote against the state. State lawmakers approved changes in Indiana's election laws that the two groups sought, including granting a tie-breaking vote to the secretary of state on certain matters before the state's bipartisan election division.
The groups dropped their suit in June, shortly after learning the state had begun its postcard drive.
Lawson sent out two rounds of postcards to voters as part of the cleanup. The first batch, roughly 4.4 million, was sent in May. In the follow-up round of mailings, roughly 755,000 postcards were mailed in June.
Of the second batch, 450,000 were marked "undeliverable" by the post office, 47,000 were returned with updated voter information and 258,000 were not returned.
State officials determined that if Indiana's voter rolls had been cleared of inaccurate and outdated registrations, voter participation would not have looked quite as dismal as it did in May's round of primary elections. Lawson's office estimates roughly 17 percent of the state's registered voters participated, instead of the 13 percent first reported shortly after the elections wrapped up.