More than 2,000 registered Clark County voters may become ineligible to cast a ballot as local officials are working to remove potential voters from the registry.
The move is mandated by the secretary of state’s office, Clark County Board of Elections Director Jason Baker said. Every county in Ohio must remove voters who have failed to vote and respond to letters sent by the board. Champaign County Board of Election officials said they anticipate removing more than 500 voters who have failed to vote or respond to letters.
“I just feel having accurate voter rolls in the state of Ohio even Clark County is important not only to the board of election and all the voters in Clark County,” Baker said. “Just because someone is being purged does not keep them from being registered in the future.
People who have failed to vote the last six years and haven’t responded to letters sent by the board will end up being purged, Baker said.
The state released the list of voters who have not cast a ballot in recent years and are being removed from the voter registration list.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said the move is to keep the voter registration list updated and accurate. Concerned citizens can search whether they are being purged at the Secretary of State’s office’s website at sos.state.oh.us.
Both election boards said they have mailed the registered voters last chance notices. The voters will be removed on Sept. 6, per state order.
There are critics of the purging system in Ohio. U. S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Columbus, introduced a bill in June that would bar stares from purging their voter rolls.
Beatty’s bill was introduced on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, a high court decision that allowed the Ohio Secretary of State to remove voters from voter rolls if they had not voted during the last six years.
Beatty’s bill, the Save Voters Act, would bar states from purging potential voters based on their failure to vote or respond to a written notice, unless the notice is returned as undeliverable.
Many letters sent to voters were returned to elections boards in Clark and Champaign Counties as undeliverable.
Champaign County Deputy Director Jodi Flora said 165 letters were returned as undeliverable.
Baker said he has multiple stacks stored away of letters that were returned to the election’s board.
“There are a lot of chances for them to update with us,” he said. “Ohio law has made it easier for them to do that. (They) are able to register online and update their registration there too.”
Baker said updating the rolls is important especially around election time. Having accurate records helps speed the voting process along. He said the office has been working to keep up with secretary of state mandates.
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