“The federal Motor Voter law was designed to register every eligible voter and keep them registered so they could be active participants in their democracy,” said Rep. Clyde. “Motor Voter does not allow or require the aggressive purging that goes on in Ohio. There is no reason to purge eligible voters from the rolls unless you want to make voting harder. People should not be shut out of the voting booth nor have their ballots thrown out because they were purged from the rolls.”
Ohio has purged over two million voters in the last five years even though many of the voters remain eligible to vote. House Bill 402 would prohibit purging voters simply for moving within the state or not voting as frequently as others. The bill would not affect any of the other valid reasons for removing voters such as death or request of the voter.
Rep. Clyde was joined today by voting rights advocates in support of the legislation.
“Any benefits of purging are far outweighed by the risk of disenfranchising voters. In a state where there is a significant registration and participation gap, we should look for ways to encourage more eligible voters to participate rather than create more barriers to the ballot box,” said Camille Wimbush on behalf of the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition.
“If a lawfully registered voter does not vote for a period of time, that inactivity should not under any circumstance invalidate a registration and disqualify an Ohioan from voting,” said Innovation Ohio President Keary McCarthy. “Purging the rolls of lawfully registered voters is yet another example of the Secretary of State making it harder to vote, and easier to delete.”
In recent years, Rep. Clyde has called on Secretary Husted to stop purging eligible voters from the rolls. She also introduced House Bill 181 to create Automatic Voter Registration in Ohio.