Voting Machines

File. Then-secretary of state candidate State Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson (right), explains funding decisions for Wood County voting machines with John Miller (left) of the Wood County Board of Elections, as then-State Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, looks on.

An estimated 1,800 people in Wood County have received notice that their names would be purged and they will not be allowed to vote.

The deadline for the statewide purge of inactive voters passed Friday and those registrations were removed from the rolls.

Terry Burton, Wood County Board of Elections director, called it a “saga.”

He said that the secretary of state-managed process for removal of inactive names has been in and out of court a number of times, with voting rights activists protesting the action.

In Wood County, 1,800 people have received the “last chance notices.”

Registered voters who have been inactive for two consecutive federal elections, even years, were sent a form in July to remain as “part of process,” by the county board of elections.

As part of that form, voters could update addresses or confirm that the address is accurate. Forms could be physically mailed back through the U.S. Postal Service, or similarly completed on the website.

The letter sent on July 23 stated, “Your Ohio Voter Registration will be cancelled on 09/06/19: The Wood County Board of Elections mailed notice to this address in 2015 informing you that if you did not confirm your address, update your address, or vote by the general election held in 2018 that your voter registration would be cancelled under federal and state law.”

“We’re finishing that process right now. The deadline is Friday for list to be received by the secretary of state,” Burton said last week.

The list of potential registrations to be purged was sent to the secretary of state and there were two audits for potential errors.

“If someone is on the list and they didn’t respond, they need to re-register,” Burton said. “A large majority that we have received back are returned as undeliverable, because they are no longer at that residence.”

Registration, or updates to voter registrations, must be done no later than 30 days prior to an election. The upcoming voter registration deadline is Oct. 7 for the Nov. 5 general election.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose released the following statement Aug. 20 after state senators Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, and Nathan Manning, R- North Ridgeville, introduced the Voter Verification and Registration bill — new legislation to modernize Ohio’s voter registration process.

“It is time to modernize Ohio’s registration process with the dual goal of increasing civic engagement while at the same time preventing fraud by keeping more accurate voter rolls. The clear goal of this bill is secure and accessible elections for every eligible Ohio voter,” LaRose said.