COLUMBUS – State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today gave sponsor testimony before the State and Local Government Committee on House Bill (HB) 466, which would modernize Ohio’s voter registration system by making the choice to register at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and other state agencies an “opt-out” rather than an “opt-in” system. As another voter purge begins, HB 466 would eliminate any need for Ohio’s outdated and error-riddled process of purging inactive voters from the rolls. The legislation would also help register more Ohioans with the hope of increasing participation in our elections.
“Ohio relies on an antiquated purge process to maintain its voter rolls, which has allowed a mix of human error and corporate vendors to inadvertently disenfranchise Ohioans. Even one eligible voter stripped of their right to vote by this failed system is one voter too many,” said Rep. Sweeney. “HB 466 would make the highly controversial supplemental purge process obsolete, while also keeping more accurate and secure rolls. Automating voter registration when Ohioans interact with the state is more cost-effective, cuts red tape, and most importantly, protects the right to vote.”
Unfortunately, Ohio’s voter purges have been a source of national embarrassment. In the 2020 election alone, over 4,000 voters whose registrations were purged by the supplemental process showed up on Election Day to vote. This flawed purge process has shown it can inadvertently deregister anyone, from the frequent voter who has voted in every election to the infrequent voter who failed to respond to a postcard.
The bill now awaits further hearings in the House State and Local Government Committee.