Massive Ohio Voter Purge Today
Friday, September 6, 2019
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After scoring a victory in court, the Ohio Secretary of State's Office is expected to follow through on a massive voter registration purge today.
The purge is happening despite discovering mistakes on the list, released by Secretary of State Frank LaRose, of roughly 235,000 voters at risk of losing their registrations.
Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, says the list erroneously includes names of some voters who are actually eligible to vote.
"Thousands of individuals on the list had voted as recently as 2018, and by no means should be removed,” says Miller. “Others may not have gotten proper notification because of discrepancies between counties' lists and Secretary of State LaRose's voter look-up website."
This week, a U.S. District Court judge denied a request to temporarily halt the removal process, noting that LaRose has been transparent in releasing the registration list and restored registrants who were eligible. Nearly 12,000 people on the list updated their registration information and won't be removed.
Miller says voting-rights groups appreciate the Secretary of State's efforts to ensure a quality review of the rolls, but contend it wasn't as in-depth as what they'd prefer.
"At the end of the day the buck stops with the secretary [of state],” says Miller. “Both in federal law and state law, it is the secretary's job to make sure that voter rolls are accurate – and that includes making sure that people are not wrongfully removed through this purge policy."
Miller encourages all Ohio voters to check their status on the Secretary of State's website, to ensure they don't have problems before the Oct. 7 deadline to register.
"And if it says you're 'active,' that means your registration is good to go,” says Miller. “If it says 'confirmation,' you should absolutely re-register. If your name isn't there at all, you definitely need to register. You have 30 days to do so."
If an Ohio voter is inactive for a two years, a notification is sent of their pending registration cancellation. If they fail to respond and don't vote for four years, they can be removed from the rolls.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the system last year, despite arguments that it may violate the National Voting Rights Act.
This story was produced in association with Media in the Public Interest, and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.
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