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Advocates Fighting Latest Ohio Voter Purge

The early voting center at the Franklin County Board of Elections in Columbus.
John Minchillo
Associated Press

More than 235,000 Ohio voters are on a list to be removed from the voter rolls in a little over two weeks.

Those inactive voters are thought to be dead, moved out of state or somehow ineligible to vote. Organizations that are working to find those voters and warn them to re-register are now asking Ohio’s top elections official to delay that action, set to happen on September 6.

The Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, Jen Miller, says there are more than 4,000 voters on that list that shouldn’t be and even more cannot be reached in the limited amount of time available.

“We have so many questions now. The more we look at the lists, the more we see that every board of elections is doing this differently, the more discrepancies we see, the harder it is to answer any question about the future," Miller says.

Other groups that have been trying to locate voters on the list say they have questions too.

Mike Brickner, Ohio State Director for All Voting is Local, says thousands of voters are at risk of losing the fundamental right to vote "by a system that has been show time and again to be deeply flawed."

Tom Roberts, President of the NAACP Ohio State Conference, says the "use it or lose it" principle applied here is wrong.

Dylan Sellers, Ohio Coordinator for Fair Elections Center's Campus Vote Project, says college students who move often are especially hurt in this process.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose says he’s following the law requiring voter roll maintenance. And he says a federal database has been used to identify more than 168,000 Ohioans, nearly three quarters of them under 21, who are eligible to vote but haven’t registered. They will be receiving postcards, urging them to register before the October 7 deadline.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.