Ohioans who have been purged from state voting rolls since 2011 will be allowed to cast provisional ballots in Tuesday’s special U.S. House election between Republican Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor. Secretary of State Jon Husted instructed county boards of elections on Tuesday to accept the ballots of those purged for failing to vote during a six-year span and failing to respond to notices asking them to verify their status. Their votes will be counted after the election once their purging from voting rolls and other information is confirmed. Husted’s office could not estimate how many purged voters could cast ballots on Tuesday. The directive was the result of a federal court order following mediation with plaintiffs and after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in their suit, according to Husted’s memo to county election officials. The plaintiffs reversed course after an earlier agreement and asked that those purged be allowed to vote on Aug. 7. The court agreed.
Ohio has purged no voters from its rolls since 2016, when a federal lawsuit was filed challenging the practice. The action led to a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 11 upholding Husted’s process to purge voters as legal.
Husted told county officials in Franklin, Delaware, Licking, Marion, Morrow, Richland and Muskingum counties — which are part of the 12th District — to count the ballots of purged voters after confirming they had lost their right to vote in 2011, 2013 or 2015.
Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, the party’s candidate for secretary of state this fall, called it a “major victory for Ohio voters.”