The news release said, “Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced his office will begin mailing absentee ballot applications to voters statewide this weekend.” What it didn’t say was that more than a million of Ohio’s 7.7 million registered voters wouldn’t get the mailing, because Husted’s office had pared the list beforehand. The 1,035,795 voters left out fall into two categories:
• 650,730 who have changed their address. This includes 568,456 who moved within Ohio; they were sent cards asking them to update their address. The 82,274 who moved out of state were mailed information on how to cancel their Ohio registration.
• 385,065 who did not vote in either the 2012 or 2014 elections and have not responded to queries about their address from their county board of elections.
“We’re working extremely hard to encourage participation this November and to help people make sure they have the information they need to cast a ballot with ease,” said Husted spokesman Joshua Eck.
More than 35,000 already have responded to the request to update their addresses, which can be done online at the secretary of state’s website.
Still, Husted’s decision not to mail absentee ballot applications to 13 percent of the state’s registered voters has drawn fire and raised questions — although some of it is just the usual political heat surrounding voting rights in an important swing state.
“Mr. Husted is playing fast and loose with the absentee ballot access of certain registered and eligible voters,” said state Rep. Kathleen Clyde when the applications went out last month.