COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Ohio election chief made efforts this week to remove inactive voters from state lists while using the announcement to press for the passage of a bill that introduces several changes to the state’s electoral process.
The four-year inactive voter deletion process is for those who have not voted in two years and whose addresses may have changed and whose voter registration needs to be updated, as instructed by GOP Secretary of State Frank LaRose to Ohio on Wednesday 88 county electoral boards.
Inactive voters can stay on the electoral roll by voting, postal voting, voting, or other election-related action at any election for the next four years.
Earlier this year, LaRose said that 97,795 inactive voter files were removed during scheduled electoral roll maintenance after 2020, a lower number than predicted after thousands of voters avoided cleaning up through voting and other electoral activity. Ohio has more than 8 million registered voters.
In his announcement on Wednesday, LaRose also called for the passage of a Republican referendum bill, which was tabled this spring, which he described as “vital modernization”.
The bill bans ballot boxes anywhere but local election offices, removes one day of early voting, shortens the deadline for applying for postal ballot papers, and tightens identity requirements for voters.
The bill would also add some convenience to the polls, including an online postal voting request system, which has long been sought by electoral lawyers, and automated voter registration through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Democrats criticize the measure as voter suppression. Bill Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati, has described it as an effort to bring in the changes long sought by Democrats, Republicans, election officials, and voters.