Thousands of voters thought to be inactive could be removed from the voter rolls this year. Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State is releasing a list of voters who are thought to have died, moved away or who haven't voted in six years. But voters won’t be removed until after the November 3rd election.
Federal law prohibits voters from being removed from the voter rolls within 90 days of an election. Secretary of State Frank LaRose says all 88 local boards of elections are being told to send cards to those inactive voters, instructing them to update their registrations to stay on the voter rolls after the November vote. LaRose says a better idea would be to cast a ballot in the upcoming presidential election.
"If you vote this November, then you will be an active voter in the Ohio voter registration system well into the future. And that's what we really want to do - maintain active voter rolls and, at the same time, encourage greater civic participation," LaRose says.
LaRose says there are 119,000 names that could be removed on December 7. But he says that list will likely be much smaller as people either vote or update their registrations.
Outside groups are looking at the lists of voters who could be removed, as they did when the state was set to erase around 200,000 inactive voters last year. Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, says her group is among those helping with the effort.
"We look forward to getting the list of voters who could be removed from the rolls and we will do our part to reach voters and educate those eligible voters who need to update their registration. Once again, we'll review the list for accuracy to ensure no voter is removed from the rolls wrongfully," Miller says.
Last time around, the Ohio NAACP, All Voting is Local and others helped to locate voters. Miller expects the same coalition will work together this time around.
Any person whose registration was previously cancelled prior to this election and who still resides in the same county in which their registration was canceled will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot this November under an agreement with the A. Phillip Randolph Institute. That group challenged the last process to remove voters from the rolls. And when a person who is in this category casts that provisional ballot that meets the qualified criteria, they will be restored to the regular voter rolls.
LaRose encourages all voters to check their voter registrations to make sure they are current. You can do that by going online here: http://voteohio.gov