Ohio will restart its controversial voter purge process in the coming weeks, with a few changes to help prevent eligible voters from being removed from the rolls. No voter registrations will be canceled before this November’s mid-term election because federal law bars cancellations within 90 days of an election, and a special election will be held in August for Pat Tiberi’s congressional seat. But county boards of election can begin identifying voters who have not voted in the past two years and mailing them a “confirmation notice,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted advised elections officials in a new directive. Notices must be mailed by Aug. 6. Voters then have four years to return the notice, update their registration address or vote. If they don’t, they will be assumed to have moved out of state or died and their registrations will be canceled.
New this time around: If voters renew their Ohio driver’s licenses or ID cards with the address they’ve registered to vote at, that will count as confirming the address.
No voters flagged during the 2018 “supplemental process” will be removed from the rolls until after the November 2022 election, the directive states.
The supplemental process has been used in some form for two decades to clean up Ohio’s voter rolls. It was challenged in court after several voters claimed they were improperly removed from the rolls and were wrongly denied a ballot. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the method last month, siding with state officials who said failing to respond to the mailed notice was evidence a voter had moved and was ineligible to vote.