Working with local Board of Elections, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose completed the mandatory clean-up of the Ohio voter registration list earlier this year. As a result, approximately 125,000 inactive registrations were removed from the voter rolls including those from voters who have died, been incarcerated, relocated, not voted in the last 6 years or not responded to notices mailed to them.
Voters who are concerned about the status of their registration or that of a family member can check the Registration Readiness website. Any person whose voter registration has been removed can be immediately reinstated by reregistering on the Secretary’s registration website or by visiting their county board of elections. Alternatively, one can cast a provisional vote in the upcoming May 2 primary and follow up with the required verification process.
Clean-up process upheld by US Supreme Court
The Ohio voter list clean-up process is not without controversy. The latest effort has Democrats calling for a third party audit. In 2018 the ACLU of Ohio and others challenged the Ohio list-maintenance process to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision that reversed a ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, that Ohio can remove voters from its rolls if, after skipping a federal election cycle, voters do not return a notice sent by the state in the mail and fail to vote for another four years. Several other states have similar processes in place, though none are considered as aggressive as Ohio’s.
Democrats request 3rd party audit
State Representatives Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Westlake) criticized the state’s recent voter clean-up effort in a letter to Secretary of State Frank LaRose and demanded transparency.
“Ohio’s purging of voters is nothing to be proud of. Every time there is a purge, we discover that Ohioans with the right to vote are wrongfully removed from our roll. We should not mess with the people’s freedom to vote. This process needs transparency and an audit to help restore confidence in our elections,” Sweeney said.
Secretary of State responds to critics
Frank LaRose’s spokesman Rob Nichols responded to the audit request by saying, “We’re not sure why they [Brent & Sweeney] would question the judgment or competency of our professional bipartisan boards of elections which provide us with this data, but we encourage everyone to review the list of abandoned registrations to persuade those who have not participated in any voter activity in six years to re-register to vote and participate in our democratic process.”
In a press release dated February 21, 2023, Frank LaRose announced that he had fulfilled his legal responsibility to maintain the accuracy of Ohio’s voter registration database as required under both federal and state law. This process was carried out previously by Secretaries Brown, Blackwell, Taft, Brunner, and Husted, and was done in partnership with Ohio’s county boards of elections… to ensure that only eligible Ohioans can cast their vote in Ohio elections.
The press release states that county boards of elections report to the Secretary all voter registrations they deem to be abandoned, meaning the registrant passed away, was incarcerated, moved, or did not engage in any form of election participation over the past six years. Additional abandoned registrations were identified via the National Change of Address process, where the U.S. Postal Service notifies counties of individuals who are confirmed to have moved from the address where they were registered.
“Cleaning up abandoned registrations from our voting rolls isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the law,” said LaRose. “It’s a commonsense measure that makes it easier to prevent fraud and reduces the burden and costs at our county boards of elections.”
Rassmussen: Election integrity is important to majority of voters
A recent survey of 915 U.S. likely voters conducted on April 17-19 by Rasmussen Reports shows 60% of likely voters want to ensure there is no cheating in elections and “a majority of U.S. voters think it is likely that cheating affected the outcomes of some races” in the 2022 midterms. 37% think it is “very likely” that cheating affected outcomes. Other results show that Democrat and Liberal voters want elections to be more convenient while over 50 percent of Republicans surveyed believe it is very likely “state and federal officials are ignoring evidence of widespread election fraud.”
Heritage Foundation: accurate voter registration rolls top action step to ensure election integrity
The Heritage Foundation has compiled a list of 9 action steps that states need to take to restore integrity and voter confidence to our elections. At the top of the list is the need to verify the accuracy of voter registration lists. Others include: 2. Verify citizenship of voters; 3. Require voter ID; 4. Limit absentee ballots; 5. Prevent vote trafficking or harvesting; 6. Allow election observers complete access to the election process; 7. Provide voting assistance; 8. Prohibit early vote counting and 9. Provide state legislatures with legal standing to sue other state officials, such as governors or secretaries of state, who make or attempt to make unauthorized changes in state election laws.