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Group Registers Ohioans Who Are In Jail And Those Who Don't Vote Frequently

Dan Konik

Groups that are registering voters to cast ballots in November are scurrying throughout Ohio on this final day to register for the 2018 election. One of those groups has been reaching out to possible voters in unusual ways.

No one has been removed from Ohio’s voting rolls since litigation over the way Ohio does that was filed in 2016. Ohio’s six-year process of removing voters was upheld by the US Supreme Court earlier this year. There are now more than 8 million registered voters in Ohio. But after the November election, those who cast ballots infrequently could be taken off the rolls when a court order preventing that action expires. An estimated million and a half voters could be removed. Mike Brickner says his group, All Voting is Local, compiled a list of voters who are in danger of being removed and has reached out to nearly a half million of them.

“We have started outreach to them through a texting campaign where we have been encouraging them to verify and update their voter registration to make sure they are accurate," Brickner says.

Brickner says his group will continue to reach out to them through Election Day. But his group isn’t just focusing on infrequent voters. It is also working with Ohioans who are in the state’s county jails.

“The only people who are disenfranchised because of a criminal conviction are people who are in jail or prison after they have been convicted of a felony. So if you are there pre-trial and you’ve not been convicted of anything, you can vote. If you are in jail for a misdemeanor conviction, you can vote. If you are out on parole or probation, you are able to vote," Brickner explains.

Brickner says he doesn’t know how many people behind bars have registered at this point but he says 72 were registered in Lake County in one jail over the weekend. He says his group will also maintain communication with people who registered in jail throughout this election season to make sure they can vote if they want. 

Contact Jo Ingles at
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