Letter sparks voter confusion

September 9, 2008 3:26:59 PM PDT
At the offices of the Essex County Superintendent of Elections, the phones have been ringing off the hooks for the last two days. A letter from the state mistakenly informed hundreds of thousands of long-time voters that they "aren't" registered, triggering the onslaught.

The superintendent of elections says even his wife got the letter. Carmine Casciano says he was finally able to get to the bottom of the problem.

A statewide effort to register every eligible voter by matching voting rolls and Department of Motor Vehicle records backfired because the system flags voters when information doesn't exactly match.

At least 300-thousand letters have gone out to residents in Essex, Bergen and five South Jersey counties.

Just getting the letter doesn't change anyone's voting status. Many of the recipients are already registered. Those who are not can fill out and return the included voter registration form.