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Secretary of State Seeks to Reset Voter Registrations

Sojourner’s Truth Staff

Last month, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that his office will compile a statewide list of registered voters who are in danger of being purged from the voting rolls. The list, which has been named the “Registration Reset List,” will be made widely available to political parties, non-profit organizations, churches and other entities that have an interest in locating and notifying those in danger of being purged.

The 88 county boards of elections were given until July 15 to compile their lists and submit to the Secretary of State’s office.

Under Ohio law, Ohio elections officials must remove voters from their rolls if they have not voted within the last six years and haven’t responded to a mailed notice. The controversial law, which prompted 276,200 last-chance notices to be mailed in January, was enforced by LaRose’s predecessor, then-Secretary of State Jon Husted and upheld by the U.S Supreme Court last summer.

Husted did not require the county board of elections to forward their lists to his office, a policy LaRose changed in June. Now groups such as the League of Women Voters and the Ohio chapter of the NAACP are able to obtain copies of the lists in order to reach out to those in danger of being purged. The plan for some such groups is to make direct phone calls and knock on doors in an attempt to locate those on the list, said Jen Miller, the League of Women’s Voters’ executive director.

Assisting the Secretary of State with the effort to get the word out is Zach Reed, a former Cleveland City Councilman who signed up with the Columbus office earlier this year and has been traveling the state making connections with local groups who can reach out to the disenfranchised voters. Reed has been to Toledo perhaps as many as 10 times already in these past few months to meet with local group leaders and officials..

While for some groups, such as the League of Women Voters, the effort is a non-partisan attempt to reach out to all voters, some groups, such as the state Republican Party, have plainly noted that they want to find Republicans to keep on the rolls.  

“The Registration Reset List is an unprecedented effort to give Ohio’s community and grassroots organizations a real opportunity to partner with us in our effort to maintain accurate voter rolls,” said LaRose. “We want every eligible voter who wants to participate in the process to have that opportunity, and this initiative will help make that happen.”

LaRose has called on Ohio to embrace a modernized system that will make voter rolls more accurate and secure, his office said in a statement released last week.. Instead of relying on voters to remember to update their information at their local board of elections or on the Secretary of State website, it would require state government to automate this process. A system that allows Ohioans to seamlessly update their registration information when they interact with state government will significantly improve the accuracy of Ohio’s voter rolls.

Said Spokeswoman Maggie Sheehan: “For the first time, the Secretary of State’s office is collecting inactive voter data from the counties that has allowed us to discover minor discrepancies. Thanks to our efforts, the Registration Reset List is up-to-date and we certainly hope every inactive voter on the list takes advantage of the opportunity to update their information and once again become a full participant in the democratic process. This situation is a reminder that the modernized, automated system of registration proposed by Secretary LaRose would eliminate these types of issues in the future. We hope this legislation is swiftly introduced, passed and signed into law.”

Organizations seeking to partner with the Secretary of State’s office can email SecretaryLaRose@OhioSoS.gov.



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/08/19 19:32:03 -0400.

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