Ohio’s elections chief has taken steps to protect eligible voters from being removed from the rolls as more than 200,000 inactive registrations are deleted. (Photo by Jay LaPrete/Getty Images)

Ohio elections chief narrows deletion of voter registrations

Ohio’s elections chief has taken steps to protect eligible voters from being removed from the rolls as more than 200,000 inactive registrations are deleted.

Instructions issued at Friday’s deadline by Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose prohibit county election boards from canceling registrations listed as active, lacking adequate voter history or impacted by vendor errors.

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LaRose also required boards to check in-person, online and mailed registration updates before proceeding.

The directive comes amid protracted legal wrangling over Ohio’s stringent process for maintaining voter rolls. LaRose has emphasized the removals are required by state law.

Voter rights advocates credited LaRose for minimizing mistaken removals but said the so-called “purge” process for automatic removals should be eliminated.

Election officials say most of the canceled registrations involve people who have moved or died.

The Ohio League of Women Voters has been critical of the “purge.”

“For the first time in Ohio’s contentious process of removing infrequent voters from the voter registration rolls, Secretary LaRose provided ‘purge’ list to voting rights groups. Immediately, the League of Women Voters of Ohio and allies discovered serious data errors, which if left unaddressed, would result in the wrongful disenfranchisement of eligible Ohioans,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

The Secretary of State’s office has a webpage where people can check on their voting status and get more information at https://www.sos.state.oh.us/registrationreset/

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