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Ohio's voter purge: What you need to know

Jun 13, 2018, 13:05 PM

In a blow to voting rights, the U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled against a federal judge and in favor of a voter suppression tactic used by Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted. Because of the ruling, states, including Ohio, are now allowed to purge registered voters off the rolls just because they haven’t voted in the recent past.

In 2011, Husted instructed Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections to start purging voters from Ohio’s voter registration rolls. Some counties balked and refused, indicating that no one should be purged unless they have moved or passed away—not because they hadn’t voted.

In one prominent case, an Ohio veteran who had been purged from Ohio’s voting rolls while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, confronted Husted on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to tell him he shouldn’t be purging service members or veterans.

But Ohio is not alone in voter suppression tactics. Dozens of states have made it harder to vote by requiring picture IDs and cutting voting hours.

How does Ohio’s voter purging work?

Ohio’s process of voter purging has been considered the most aggressive in the country. If an Ohioan does not vote after two years, they are sent a card in the mail to send in to verify they live at the address. If the voter does not mail back the card and continues to not vote for four years, then they are purged from the rolls.

Proponents say that purging voters will help eliminate voter fraud. However, voter fraud is virtually non-existent, so their reasoning just doesn’t add up.

What does this ruling mean for you?

Ohio voters need to remain vigilant. Know that Ohio’s Secretary of State Husted will continue the practice of purging voters, especially after this Supreme Court decision. If you have not voted in a recent election, we encourage you to re-register to vote. Voter registration is available online HERE. You will need your Ohio driver’s license, name, date of birth, address and last four digits of your Social Security number.

If you have moved, you also need to re-register to vote. To check whether or not you have been purged from the voter rolls, you can go HERE.

Kathleen Clyde, who is the democratic nominee for Ohio Secretary of State, and who has been endorsed by the OCSEA State Board of Directors, says she will end the practice of purging voters should she be elected this fall. For Clyde's bio, and a list of all OCSEA endorsed candidates, go HERE.