For the first time in years, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will soon know just how many registered voters it should have. The county is in the middle of of its largest-ever purge of voter records. And when it is over, Elections Director Jane Platten expects her department will delete more than 100,000 inactive voters — just over one-tenth of the region’s current registered voting population.
Record purging has been a controversial topic for Cuyahoga, which gained attention in 2007 for being one of several counties that had more people registered to vote than people of voting age.
Platten, who was appointed as election board director the same year, said that the department historically had an “inconsistent practice” of updating registration records. As a result, there hasn’t been an accurate count of valid registered voters for years.
Voter registration cannot be canceled simply because a person doesn’t vote. Instead, the process is based on whether you can receive mail at the address listed on your registration.
Last week, nearly 200,000 notices went to the addresses of those who had not voted or signed a petition in the past two years. Any voter who doesn’t respond to the mailing and who remains inactive for the next four years will be removed from the registry.
A similar mailing was done in 2007, and the county received back only 80,000 of the 180,000 sent. The remaining 100,000 voters will be removed in September.