COLUMBUS, Ohio — One in seven registered voters in Ohio won’t receive an absentee ballot request form in the mail for the upcoming election cycle.
Republican Ohio Secretary of State John Husted decided against sending absentee ballot applications to more than 1 million registered voters who didn’t vote in the 2012 or 2014 federal elections or who are thought to have moved.
But an investigation by the Akron Beacon Journal (http://bit.ly/2cokeRc ) finds that some of these voters have voted as recently as March and haven’t moved.
Kristina Hall, who lives in Cuyahoga Falls, is one who won’t be getting an absentee ballot application and she can’t figure out why. She voted in the Democratic primary in March and was told she wasn’t on the list, forcing her to vote provisionally. Hall’s vote was supposed to be used to update her address, which was apparently out of date, but it didn’t.
“I get so mad when people don’t vote,” she said. “That’s why I thought it was a problem when I’ve done everything I’m supposed to.”
Any voter who misses two years of elections or who has updated their address with the post office, but not with a county board of elections is mailed a notice asking them to confirm their new address or whether they’d like to remain a voter.
If they don’t respond or vote again in four years, they’re purged from the voter database. Most who are purged from voting lists have died or moved out of state, according to Husted spokesman Joshua Eck.
But some critics said the purging practice arbitrarily removes voters for exercising their right to pick elections that interest them.
“I’m concerned about people being excluded from parts of the election process,” said state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Kent Democrat, who added that it’s “disingenuous” to leave out hundreds of thousands of voters from getting absentee ballot applications.
The early voting period has also been reduced to four weeks and Democrats said they consider the selective process of sending out ballot requests and trimming early voting is an attack on the rights of constituents, particularly low-income residents who benefit from convenient early voting options.
Republicans, however, maintain that early voting is still more robust in Ohio than most other states.
Information from: Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com