Senate Panel Returns Voter Registration Bill To Floor

A bill that permits some people to register and vote right away is going back to the Senate floor after the state auditor told a committee there was no reason to delay it.

State Auditor Les Merritt initially urged caution after his examination of voter rolls. Lawmakers delayed floor debate three times this month and invited Merritt and state elections Director Gary Bartlett to attend the committee hearing and discuss Merritt's review.

The conflict began earlier this month when Merritt said a preliminary review of the database of the state's five and a half million registered voters revealed potential inconsistencies. Merritt requested that Senate Democratic leaders delay floor debate on the bill, and they agreed.

But Bartlett told the panel Merritt's early findings were based on faulty assumptions. Merritt also acknowledged that his final report may show no significant problems with the voter rolls.

State Auditor Les Merritt initially urged caution after his examination of voter rolls. Lawmakers delayed floor debate three times this month and invited Merritt and state elections Director Gary Bartlett to attend the committee hearing and discuss Merritt's review.

The conflict began earlier this month when Merritt said a preliminary review of the database of the state's five and a half million registered voters revealed potential inconsistencies. Merritt requested that Senate Democratic leaders delay floor debate on the bill, and they agreed.

But Bartlett told the panel Merritt's early findings were based on faulty assumptions. Merritt also acknowledged that his final report may show no significant problems with the voter rolls.


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