CROWN POINT | The state has found a new way to crack down on unscrupulous attempts to register dead or fictitious voters.
A new state voter registration form would make it harder in the future to slide bogus voter registration forms through the office as happened in the "Jimmy Johns" scam nine years ago, said Pat Gabrione, Lake County's assistant director of county elections and voter registration.
Employees of ACORN, a political action group that did mass voter registration in Lake County, dumped hundreds of a invalid registration forms on local election officials during the 2008 presidential election, including one in the name and address of the sandwich shop in Crown Point.
Gabrione said the new registration form, which goes into effect Jan. 1, requires activists registering new voters to turn in the forms within 10 days. Gabrione said some groups would hold new registrations until just before the deadline, overwhelming local officials who had to check their validity.
Michelle Fajman, elections director, said this change has no effect on people already registered to vote.
She said she is warning any politicians who have large numbers of current voter registration forms to throw them away and download new forms from the county or state elections websites.
"We won't honor the old form after Jan. 1 — and that means anyone who has registered people on them, and waited too late, will have to redo it with the new forms," Fajman said.
Voters will go to the polls next year to elect a congressional representative, an Indiana secretary of state, state auditor and state treasurer. In Lake County, voters also will choose three state senators and state representatives and in Porter County, one state senator and five state representatives.
In Lake County, voters also must choose a prosecutor, clerk, sheriff, auditor, treasurer, assessor, 1st District county commissioner, seven county council members, township officials, some Cedar Lake, Dyer, Lowell, Schererville and St. John town council members, and hundreds of precinct committee members in the Democratic and Republican parties.
In Porter County, they will choose a Circuit Court and two Superior Court judges, prosecutor, clerk, auditor, recorder, sheriff, coroner, assessor, Center District county commissioner, four county council members, township board members and trustees, Portage Township assessor, two Kouts town board members, various school board members, and party precinct and state convention delegates.