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Ohio’s new Secretary of State is taking steps to soften – at least temporarily – a controversial state practice that resulted in the removal of hundreds of thousands of voters in 2018 by sending recently-purged voters a voter registration card at their last known address. Cleveland.com has more:
Secretary of State Frank LaRose said Monday he’s making an extra effort to reach out to Ohioans who were recently purged from Ohio’s voting rolls.
A spokesperson said Monday that LaRose plans to reach out to an estimated 267,000 Ohioans who were removed in January after not responding to a “last chance” notice from his predecessor, Jon Husted.
LaRose’s office is requesting information from county boards of election that can be used to get each of the purged voters’ last known address. LaRose, the state’s top elections official, then plans to send each one a voter registration card.
In a Twitter post Monday, LaRose said: “It’s not the comprehensive update we’ll be pushing for our antiquated system, but it’s a positive step that we can and are making NOW.”
Husted’s office last month announced last month that 275,000 Ohioans would receive the last chance notices. Those who didn’t respond were then removed under a process that has stoked controversy over the years.
State officials say Ohio’s process of maintaining voter rolls is designed to keep the list accurate by removing people who have moved out of their voting precinct or died. But critics have said the method has resulted in people improperly being denied the chance to vote. The ACLU in 2016 sued on behalf of a Portage County veteran who was removed after not voting for eight years. The U.S. Supreme Court last year upheld Ohio’s voter-purge method as legal.
Although his comments at times were ambiguously positive, LaRose during the 2018 campaign also gently criticized Ohio’s system of purging voters. He has said since being elected that he plans to keep it in place, but that he hopes to improve it to reduce the likelihood that someone will be removed.
I do wonder if the latest mailing, and the attendant publicity, will have any effect or if (after eight-plus years) we are reaching the limit of individuals who were removed and want to be reinstated. I’ll also be interested to see what larger reform LaRose has in mind – as well as whether this latest chance for purged voters is truly the last one. Watch your mail – and stay tuned …