Ohio’s secretary of state is set to remove more than 200,000 people from the state’s voter rolls, despite known errors in the list he is using to facilitate the purge.
Republican Frank LaRose produced a list of 235,000 people whose right to vote is under threat, according to The Huffington Post, only to later discover and correct a slew of errors.
Last month, voting rights groups indicated they found another 4,000 people who did not belong on the list, and The Columbia Dispatch identified more than 1,600 people who wound up on the list due to a technical error.
Voting rights groups have set out on a campaign urging Ohio voters to double check their registrations while simultaneously calling upon LaRose to pause the purge until it can be ensured that only legitimate removals take place.
Mike Brickner, the Ohio state director of voting rights group All Voting is Local, said “it seems like every week” that new errors are discovered with the state’s list.
“If we’re going to purge people, we better make sure that it be accurate and fair,” Brickner said. “As of right now, with new questions arising just about every day, many people in the state just don’t have a lot of confidence that this is a correct list.”
HuffPost noted that voter roll purges “are now a major frontier in battles over voter suppression in the United States,” reporting that at least 17 million people have seen their voter registrations canceled since the 2016 election.
Ohio has removed 265,000 voters from the rolls so far this year.
The list LaRose compiled involves people the state believes have moved, including “people who didn’t respond to an address confirmation mailing and people who haven’t voted, signed a petition or engaged in any other political activity for six consecutive years.”
The Ohio secretary of state’s office has defended its methods in conducting the purge, with LaRose’s attorneys saying this week that his office corrected the mistakes it discovered and was making additional efforts to contact voters ahead of the purge.
In a statement, LaRose spokesperson Maggied Sheehan said: “We’re proud of providing unprecedented levels of transparency into this process, but we won’t ignore the law. When we rolled out the Registration Reset list in July, we partnered with the NAACP, the Ohio Republican Party, the Urban League, church organizations, and labor unions who asked to be a part of this process, and they’ve been a big help. Predictably the Ohio Democratic Party stood on the sidelines.”
The Ohio Democratic Party filed a lawsuit last week asking U.S. District Judge James Graham to stop the purge from proceeding as scheduled, but that request was denied.