Ohio may purge 120K inactive voters from rolls post-election
By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — About 120,000 inactive Ohio voter registrations will be purged from state voter rolls after the November election, the state elections chief announced Friday, while saying that number could go down if people on the list simply vote in the election.
The removal, required under state and federal law, will take effect Dec. 7 and affects Ohioans who haven’t voted in six years. That could also include voters who died, moved out of state or are in the system twice, the Secretary of State’s Office said.
By providing four months’ notice, the hope is to increase voter turnout by encouraging people to check their voter registration and update it if needed, or just cast a ballot, Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose said.
“Go vote this November so you can stay a registered voter,” LaRose said in an interview. “If it’s one more motivation to be active in the civic life of our state, that’s a great thing.”
The inactive registrations will be uploaded to the Secretary of State’s website for review by next month.
The League of Women Voters will check the list for inaccuracies and work to reach eligible voters at risk of being removed, said Jen Miller, director of the league’s Ohio chapter.
The group prefers other methods for keeping rolls up to date, such as automatic voter registration, which can electronically update registrations any time eligible voters interact with a government agency. But Miller commended LaRose for making the list public, “which allows us to better serve Ohio voters.”
The number of inactive voters has shrunk from about 650,000 four years ago as people either voted or otherwise updated their registration information. The voters identified in 2016 were deemed inactive for the two previous years, and were notified they had until 2020 to update their voter registration information.
Voters on the current list can do a number of things to make their registration active, including voting in November, requesting an absentee ballot application, or updating or confirming their address.
Ohio has about 7.8 million voter registrations. Under longtime Ohio practice, reviews of voter rolls take place every other year. The process announced Friday is based on a court-ordered review of voting rolls that the former secretary of state had to undertake, plus LaRose’s effort to update the registrations of as many eligible voters on that list as possible.