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House Dems Call for Reversal of Voter Purge before Voter Reg Deadline

Lawmakers decry error-filled untrustworthy process
October 4, 2019
Democrat Newsroom

Ohio House Democrats today sent a letter to Secretary of State Frank LaRose calling on him to reverse most of the voter purge that has occurred over the last past several weeks. Errors in the process have been continually revealed and the status of each person on the “last chance” list is still unknown. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, October 7. See the letter below.

“Voter roll maintenance is about removing people from the rolls who are no longer eligible to vote,” said Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland). “It is not supposed to be an obstacle course where still-eligible voters have to prove their worthiness to stay on the rolls and access their fundamental right to vote. First it was discovered that 1,100 people were accidentally on the ‘last chance’ list, then there were 1,600 more, then several thousand more. We still don’t know how many eligible voters have been removed due to errors or their choice to sit out an election. With this much uncertainty remaining and the voter registration deadline looming, the most responsible thing is for the secretary to reverse the majority of this voter purge.”

Voter registration and update information:

Ohioans who are not yet registered to vote must do so by Monday, October 7 to vote in the November 5election. Registered voters who have moved and update their address by October 7 will be eligible to cast a regular ballot in the election. Under Ohio’s Portable Voter Registration law, registered voters may still update their address after October 7 and may cast a provisional ballot at Early Voting or on Election Day. Voters may register and update their registration online at

Letter from House Democrats:

October 4, 2019

Dear Secretary LaRose,

We write to urge once more that you stop and reverse this voter purge before next week’s October 7th voter registration deadline. Last week, the Cleveland Plain Dealer called on you to stop this purge. Every new development since has cast further doubt on the integrity of this voter purge process. The only way to restore voter confidence is to reverse this purge.

The latest problem is with the “Fresh Start” list your office issued last Friday at 5pm. The list is incomplete. It shows over 182,000 voters were purged. But the state voter file your office released the next day shows over 194,000 voters were purged. These unexplained disparities make it nearly impossible for a group of voters to figure out theirstatus. If someone searches the “Fresh Start” list and does not find their name, they may assume they are safe and able to vote a regular ballot. But that may not be true because the list is incomplete.

You yourself recently acknowledged that the voting rights advocates were right, that this process is riddled with errors and you might even look back at purges done by your predecessor. That is progress, but we still don’t know how many voters were purged this time and why. For these reasons, we call on you to reverse the majority of this voter purge. Let’s examine this purge and past ones to be sure every eligible voter is where they should be - on the voter rolls.

Only those voters who we know from Post Office data moved out of Ohio, who we know are deceased, and who we know requested to be removed from the rolls should remain cancelled. The vast majority of those who have been purged should be reinstated to the rolls. The Dispatch reports that most were removed just for being infrequent voters, but we know the law does not require their removal. 

Voters who are still eligible to vote under Ohio law have been caught up in this error-filled process. A faulty list and an unclear directive from your office caused thousands to be removed in error. Many software errors, missing data, and human errors have also been documented. Reversing the purge will ensure that everyone who should be reinstated will be reinstated before the next election and restore voter confidence in our system. 

Secretary LaRose, too many errors have been revealed and your office has not adequately explained what happened. The transparency you brought to the beginning of this process is commendable but means little if we do nothing with what we’ve learned. You have the power to reverse this purge just like you had the power to change your mind and keep voters who moved in their counties on the rolls. Ohio will still meet its obligations under federal and state law to perform voter roll maintenance, and our list will be more accurate and secure if you undo the majority of this flawed purge.

Ohio is heavily scrutinized and has an unfortunate history of partisan manipulations of our voting rules.  But by correcting course, we can restore voter confidence in our elections. We all share the goal of making sure Ohio’s elections are open, honest and secure. That requires stopping the purge. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.


Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)

Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland)

Assistant Minority Leader Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus)

Minority Whip Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo)

Assistant Minority Whip Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester)

Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Hts.)

Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland)

Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire)

Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna)

Rep. Erica Crawley (D-Columbus)

Rep. Jeffrey Crossman (D-Parma)

Rep. Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati)

Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland)

Rep. Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati)

Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati)

Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus)

Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown)

Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville)

Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin)

Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus)

Rep. Joe Miller (D-Amherst)

Rep. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park)

Rep. Michael O'Brien (D-Warren)

Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson)

Rep. Phillip Robinson (D-Solon)

Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake)

Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington)

Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon)

Rep. Skindell, Michael (D-Lakewood)

Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid)

Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo)

Rep. Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland)

Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton)