Judge rules Ohio can purge voter rolls

Cleveland Building & Construction Trades Council

On Sept. 4, a federal court blocked a request by the Ohio Democratic Party to stop the removal of roughly 235,000 Ohio voters from the state voter roll.

U.S. District Court Judge James Graham said the Ohio Democratic Party did not provide enough evidence to support its claims there are thousands of eligible voters on the purge list, and gave the Secretary of State’s office the go-ahead to proceed.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the office of Secretary of State Frank LaRose removed 265,000 voters from the registered voter rolls earlier this year, and following the September purge, another 235,000 came off the books, resulting in about 500,000 voters removed from the list this year.

The Ohio Democratic Party initiated a lawsuit to invoke a temporary restraining order on the voter purge after The Columbus Dispatch reported a vendor who works with county boards of elections mistakenly flagged more than 1,600 people for purging from the rolls of eligible voters.

The Ohio League of Women voters and Democrats believe additional discrepancies uncovered will lead to more than 30,000 eligible voters wrongly removed from the register voter rolls.

Some of the instances listed within the ruling include an Aug. 5 article in The Columbus Dispatch, which reported 1,100 voters in Franklin County were incorrectly sent last chance notices.

On Aug. 15, the Ohio League of Women Voters identified roughly 4,000 voters on the list, who according to the Secretary of State’s website, listed them as active voters, but were on the purge list.

The League also reported it had found another 17,500 voters on the list who had voted as recently as November 2018.

“This evidence does not establish that the Secretary is implementing measures which render the voting system fundamentally unfair,” Graham wrote. “The occurrence of a past problem with the List does not prove the existence of a current one. More importantly, the Secretary has shown in both instances that he restored those registrants who were eligible to vote to the Voter File. In other words, the Secretary has acted to ensure eligible voters are not removed from the File when he has discovered errors on the List.”

CBCTC Executive Secretary Dave Wondolowski

Dave Wondolowski, Executive Secretary of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council and a Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Member, urged registered voters who are at risk of being purged from the voter roll to respond to the last chance postcard.

He also urged Ohioans to regularly vote, which ensures a voter’s status remains active.

“Regularly voting will ensure you will not be purged from the roll,” he said. “It is important for Ohioans to register to vote and update their information if they have moved. I urge everyone who is eligible to vote to do so, and make your voices heard.”

Ohioans can visit https://olvr.sos.state.oh.us/NCOA/NCOA to update voter information or register to vote.

Are you a registered voter?

  •  All registered voters in Ohio can go online to check if they are a registered voter by visiting: https://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/voterlookup.aspx.
  • Voters must enter their name as it appears in the voter rolls.
  • You can also check your voter status by contacting your local county Board of Elections.

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