The voting status of 1.2 million infrequent voters in Ohio remains in doubt despite a federal court ruling last week that says Ohio’s practice of purging the names from registration rolls violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Voting rights advocates on Tuesday launched a campaign to get voters to verify their registrations ahead of the Oct. 11 deadline. They also continued to press Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to reverse course on a practice of purging infrequent voters from registration rolls if they haven’t cast ballots in years. Husted indicated he may appeal last week’s ruling from the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “The decision was tremendous,” state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, said at a press conference in Columbus Tuesday. “More than 1.2 million voters will be able to vote again.” But the 1.2 million dropped voters won’t necessarily be automatically added back to the registration rolls. The appeals court left it up to the district court to decide what should happen.
The Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition held a news conference in Dayton to promote voter registration and warn people that they need to double-check to be sure they are still registered and haven’t been purged from the rolls.
“On Election Day you are not going to want to be left out of being able to vote,” said Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality and a coalition member. “But the only way you can vote is if you are registered and there are two more weeks to get registered.”
Patty Skilken, president of the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area, said there are legitimate reasons people are removed from the rolls — such as when they die, move and don’t re-register, or their names change due to marriage or divorce. She said the league was part of the case opposing removal for inactivity. “Check and make sure you are registered,” said Skilken. “If there’s any doubt in your mind about whether or not you are registered, go ahead and register again. It won’t hurt anything.”