Ohio voters worried that their registration might be among the 235,610 that could be purged from the rolls in September now can search online to see if they are on the chopping block.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office assembled in a searchable database the list of voters who will receive “last-chance notices” from Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections. Those notices had to be mailed by Monday. The database is available at https://www.ohiosos.gov/registrationreset /.
Cuyahoga County has the most voters on the list at 33,997. The 25,435 last-chance notices that will be sent in Franklin County ranks second.
In June, LaRose sent elections boards a directive to clean up their rolls by Sept. 6. He directed the boards to upload a list of inactive voters to his office by July 15 so he could compile the Registration Reset List, a database of inactive voters that community groups can use as a resource in contacting voters to ensure that they respond to the notice, update their registration online at www.voteohio.gov or file a new paper registration.
If removed from the rolls, voters who want to continue voting would be required to re-register. The registration deadline for the Nov. 5 general election is Oct. 7, about one month after boards cancel registrations.
The League of Women Voters, several faith leaders and the Ohio GOP all were among about 20 groups that requested a copy of the list.
Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Ohio law requiring elections officials to remove voter registrations if they have not cast a ballot during a six-year span or responded to the mailed last-chance notice.
The latest purge is the second since the court’s ruling. Earlier this year, local boards sent notices to 276,200 voters under a directive from former Secretary of State Jon Husted, now the lieutenant governor. Husted’s directive did not require local boards to submit to the state the names of voters who would be purged.
Several Democrats have said that Ohio’s voter cancellation process is unfair. This week, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said it disproportionately removes low-income families, minorities and students from Ohio’s voter rolls. Brown introduced a bill in February that would make it illegal for a state to use “failure to vote or respond to a state notice as a reason to target” voters for removal.
LaRose, a Republican and former state senator, wants to modernize Ohio’s voter registration process to give voters more of a chance to keep their registrations up-to-date. He has been working with state legislators to develop a bill.