Twenty years after the National Voter Registration Act was enacted, Ohio appears ready to comply with a key provision of the federal law. This month, the secretary of state’s office began distributing change of address information from driving records to county boards of elections at least twice a week. That information can then be used by the county boards to update addresses for registered voters. Effectively sharing that data is a component of the voter registration act. Despite being law since 1993, Ohio was not in compliance with that requirement. Efforts to comply with another component of the federal law that also deals with voter addresses, meanwhile, drew new criticism last week from Democrats who question whether voters will be improperly purged from the rolls. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted says that in his view, his office is properly following the federal law.
In moving toward compliance with the so-called motor-voter law, Husted sent a directive to elections boards across Ohio this month with instructions on how to handle the data. It mandates that the data be processed by the county boards at least once a week.
The regular exchange of data should help avoid large-volume transfers, said Matt McClellan, a spokesman for Husted.
“We are pushing data twice a week,” McClellan said. “Now the data exchanges they are receiving are much smaller because they’re getting them on a regular basis.”