March 27, 2009
Making reregistration easier

This is a positive step.

In Harris County, the voter registration office is starting to anticipate your next move.

County Tax Assessor-Collector Leo Vasquez has put together a coalition of private organizations and large employers to make sure that residents who move within or to the county get an on-the-spot chance to fill out fresh voter registration applications.

Moving into an apartment or buying a dwelling involves signing lots of papers. Now the Houston Apartment Association and the Texas Land Title Association will make sure the papers include voter registration forms, Vasquez said Wednesday.

Continental Airlines and the Houston Independent School District are the first employers to join the coalition by ensuring that registration forms go to workers who update their personnel records with new addresses.

"Let's hit people when they are trying to make one of those moves," said Vasquez, who was appointed in December to succeed fellow Republican Paul Bettencourt, who resigned from his elected post.

Any effort made to update these records in a timely fashion is an improvement over what we had before, and I applaud Vasquez for making that effort. There are still some holes here - what if you're moving to a garage apartment or rental house, or you're moving in with someone? - which makes me wonder if it might not be better to involve the Post Office in this, to get people who are filling out change of address forms there. Perhaps that can be added on later. In any event, as I said, this is better than what we had before, and the change in attitude is refreshing as well.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 27, 2009 to Local politics

With technology being what it is today, I would think it should be very easy for the USPS to transmit a report to the County that contains all of the address changes for people moving into the county. The County could then auto-generate postcards to remind citizens to update their information.

The County could help offset costs by partnering with DPS to include reminders for people to change their addresses on their drivers license or ID.

An additional option might be to partner with utilities like Houston's Water Utility Customer Service to create a registration form that could be folded and included with a water bill when someone opens a new water account. That way citizens can simply fill out the form and return it with their utility bill.

Posted by: Noel Freeman on March 27, 2009 9:08 AM
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