In a clash foreshadowing next year’s presidential election, Democrats in the Ohio House and voter activists now want big changes in how voter registration rolls are purged in the state. Experts consider registration the No. 1 factor in determining participation, and a bill unveiled last week by state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Kent Democrat, seeks to stop state officials from removing from the rolls voters who move within the state or who have been inactive. Her bill still would allow purging voters who move out of state and would leave intact the removal process for those who die or request to be removed.
The proposal would end practices under Jon Husted, the secretary of state and a Republican, who frequently has been at odds with Clyde over voting issues. While Clyde accuses Husted of going beyond the letter and spirit of the federal “motor voter” law of 1993 by purging some 2 million voters over the past five years, heavily affecting poor and minority voters, the secretary of state’s office counters that it is doing what the law requires for inactive voters.
The secretary’s office argues that an optional purging process notifying voters who have moved within the state has led some 61,000 Ohioans to update their registration this year, preventing them from having to cast a provisional ballot, used heavily in Ohio. A high number of provisional ballots in a close race is widely considered an invitation to lawsuits.
Full Article: To purge voters, or not, in Ohio – Editorials – Ohio.