Rumor dispelled over voter cards

Local election officials say recent rumors that millions of Texans are having their voter registration invalidated because of ongoing litigation surrounding redistricting in the Lone Star State aren't true.According to Howard County Elections Administrator Saundra Bloom, a whirlwind of rumors — mostly in the form of e-mails — have been brought to her attention claiming voters are having their registration status invalidated.“The voter registration certificates, which go out every two years, expire Dec. 31, 2011. That part of the rumor and e-mails is absolutely correct,” Bloom said. “However, that is simply the expiration date for the card. That does not mean the voter's registration has somehow become invalidated.“Unless you have changed your address, changed your name or had your voter status suspended since you received your last voter registration certificate, you are still a registered voter in the state of Texas. As soon as the redistricting litigation is settled, the new cards will go out. However, until that time you are still eligible to vote and can do so with your picture ID, just as you would if you didn't have your voter certificate available or on you.”Bloom said her office would normally mail out new voter certificates in December, but because many of the district lines are still in question because of litigation, the cards will have to wait.“Once interim redistricting maps are approved and the county can finalize precinct lines, we will mail new voter registration certificates to all registered voters,” she said.“If there have been no changes in your address and or name, you do not need to take any action. You will be mailed a new certificate. If there should be any changes, you need to make corrections at least 30 days prior to the election.”Bloom said some voters could have had their status placed on suspension if it's been four years or more since they cast a ballot.“If your voter registration status has been placed on suspension, you'll need to re-register,” Bloom said. “If you have any question about your voter registration status, the best way to check is to simply call our office. We can check and if there is a problem, we can get you on the path to getting it straightened out. You have to register within 30 days of any election you plan to cast a ballot in, so it's better to go ahead and check on these kinds of things now, rather than waiting.”For more information on voter status, contact Bloom at 264-2273.