Are Voter Registration Purges Coming To Ohio?

image of Your Vote Counts - Maybe button

There have been recent stories of voter registration purges in Texas and Florida. A story appearing in the pro-Kasich newspaper The Columbus Dispatch may suggest that an attempt will be made in Ohio to purge voter rolls. Anyone who cares about their Constitutional rights should be very wary to hear that Ohio wants to remove valid voter registrations from the rolls.

“As Ohio’s chief elections official, it is my responsibility to ensure the votes of every eligible voter are counted and ensure the integrity and accuracy of the results,” [Secretary of State Jon] Husted said when he mailed the letter. “This is a difficult task when federal regulations limit Ohio’s ability to remove ineligible names, thereby increasing the chance for voter fraud.”

Husted’s letter came just four days after he was questioned about Ohio’s bulging voter rolls by Judicial Watch, which calls itself “a conservative, nonpartisan educational foundation (that) promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.”

Unhappy because Husted has not substantially pared the rolls since that early February contact, Judicial Watch sued the Republican secretary of state in federal court in Ohio on Aug. 30.

“Those (inactive voters) are all potential names that could be used for voter fraud,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “That’s a disaster, potentially. Certainly, it just shows that our lawsuit is right on target.”

Voter rolls in Ohio are bloated, experts say

Of course Judicial Watch doesn’t offer any proof that voting fraud has occurred using inactive voter information or that any fraud has occurred at all. The standard conservative assumption is that voting fraud is rampant when that has yet to be proven.

The other point that this article misses is:

Voter Registration DOES NOT EQUAL A vote!

Let me say that again:

Voter Registration DOES NOT EQUAL A vote!

It doesn’t matter how many inactive names are on the rolls, you still need to show proof of identity in Ohio before you can cast a ballot. The state knows who the inactive voters are and there are observers at the polling place who can and do challenge voters.

The forms of identification that may be used by a voter who appears at a polling place to vote on an Election Day include:

  • A current and valid photo identification card issued by the State of Ohio or the United States government; or

  • A military identification (“military ID”); or

  • An original or copy of a current utility bill; or

  • An original or copy of a current bank statement; or

  • An original or copy of a current government check; or

  • An original or copy of a current paycheck; or

  • An original or copy of a current other government document, other than a voter registration acknowledgement notification mailed by the board of elections, that shows the voter’s name and current address.

Frequently Asked Questions About Voter Identification

Here is the info the state has on my voting history:

image of my voting history

That history even includes two changes in address over the 12 years of voting.

I don’t care what conservatives like Judicial Watch says, names on a list don’t cost the state any more money for being on the list. That is also a red herring. SOS Husted’s office pointed out they didn’t mail out absentee ballot applications to the inactive voters.

The right to vote is a constitutional right so we should be extremely cautious at making it too easy to remove voters from the roll. Voter registration purges are one of the tools conservatives use to disproportionately suppress the vote of minority voters.

Again show us actual proof that voting fraud is a problem in Ohio and I might agree with the need to purge the rolls but again registration doesn’t equal a vote.