There are now about 125,000 fewer registered voters in the state after Secretary of State Frank LaRose removed names from the active voter rolls. If an Ohioan has moved or hasn’t participated in elections in the past six years, the state may have removed the person’s name from the voter file; thus, the action affects the individual’s ability to vote.
Due to consistent troubles of nearly removing tens of thousands of legitimate voters from the record, Democrats and voting rights advocates don’t trust the process.
The full list of canceled registrations can be viewed at the Registration Readiness website which is available here.
Any person whose voter registration has been purged can immediately reinstate their ability to vote by reregistering on the Secretary of State’s registration website located here or by visiting their local county board of elections.
After six years of inactivity and if the voter in question doesn’t respond to the multiple mailings that go to their home, they are allowed to be removed from the active voter list.
This practice was challenged in court, with the ACLU of Ohio and others suing that the list-maintenance process violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) and the Help America Vote Act of 2002. NVRA forbids voter removal if the sole reason is for failure to vote.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 ruled in a 5-4 decision that although Ohio does purge infrequent voters from the registration rolls, its mailing process is sufficient enough grounds to get rid of the individual.
LaRose originally planned to remove about 140,000 names, but around 16,000 voters were mislabeled. And this isn’t the first time.
Back in 2019, the secretary spoke to OCJ/WEWS about the challenges that came from the last voter sweep.
“Over 10,000 voters have said ‘no I still want to be a registered voter in Ohio’ and so they’ve taken action, they’ve gone on our website or filled out the form and sent it in,” LaRose said at the time.
That list ended up gaining 30,000 additional incorrectly labeled voters, according to a New York Times report.
A review of the work of one vendor found that more than 1,400 names were incorrectly added to the list sparking calls from the League of Women Voters and other groups to delay the 2019 removal. Numerous activist groups have reached out to OCJ/WEWS to assert initial concerns with this list, arguing about inaccurate names.
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Ohio or in the country.
As of October 2022, LaRose sent 75 allegations of fraud during the 2020 election to law enforcement, which amounts to just .001% of all Ohio ballots alleged to be fraudulent. However, when OCJ/WEWS asked his team how many of these claims have been substantiated, they said they did not know.
State Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) has proposed numerous voter security-type bills. Her team provided a statement in defense of the list management system: “Maintaining accurate voter rolls is imperative for our ability to run fair elections and eliminate voter fraud. All Ohioans, with few exceptions, remain registered to vote unless they voluntarily remove themselves, move to another state, die, or fail to engage in election-related activity for six years. Fortunately, the process for Ohio citizens to register to vote is simple, so inactive voters who decide to participate in future elections can easily register in a variety of ways.” NOTE: Gavarone moved to Huron/Erie County from Bowling Green/Wood County to run in Primary 2022 for Congressional District 9 against Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. Gavarone came in third out of four republicans running in Primary. She then moved back to Bowling Green/Wood County in December 2022/January 2023 and reregistered in Wood County, but did not withdraw as HUR A precinct person in Erie County which she had been elected to in November 2022.
Many rural, seniors, communities of color and young adults are generally the voters impacted by these purges, as they have been in previous elections.
Reprinted in part from an article written by: