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Rep. Sweeney Finds Hundreds Purged in Error over the Past Week

Lawmaker releases new analysis of the voter purge so far
September 12, 2019
Democratic Newsroom

State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today revealed new errors her office has discovered in the voter purging that’s taken place so far and commented on most Ohio counties missing the Secretary of State’s voter purge deadline.

Last week, Secretary LaRose insisted on moving forward with the purge of infrequent voters but he reversed himself on the purge of a smaller group of voters. He did not give county boards of elections more time to comply with his orders and it appears that only two counties completed their voter purges by the deadline – Hamilton and Cuyahoga counties.

In addition, in a last-minute order LaRose sent to boards of elections last Friday, he told counties not to remove those who had moved within their county. But, it appears such voters have indeed been removed from the voter rolls.   

“The Secretary of State responded to pressure from House Democrats and reversed himself on purging voters who moved within their county,” said Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney. “We asked him to cancel the purge of eligible voters back in July, but he did not modify his order until last Friday, the very deadline he had imposed on counties to conduct the purge. As a result, most counties missed his deadline. And those who did complete the purge appear to have removed voters who should have stayed registered.”

“It’s no wonder that more errors are being exposed as this purge process drags on,” Rep. Sweeney continued. “County boards of elections are busy running the machinery of our democracy and shoring up our defenses against cyberattacks by foreign enemies. They should not be forced by the state to purge voters in this reckless error-riddled process. Anyone who is removed in error should be reinstated.”

According to state voter data published on the Secretary’s website on September 7, only about 33,000 voters of the 235,610 voters on the original purge list have been purged so far by the September 6 deadline, mostly from Cuyahoga County and Hamilton County. Many of these voters moved within their counties and should have remained on the rolls under LaRose’s Friday afternoon order.

Rep. Sweeney’s office used data from the state and county to calculate the following Cuyahoga County purge figures:

  • Roughly 30,000 Cuyahoga County voters were purged on Sept. 6
  • About 26,000 were purged through the Supplemental Process. They were presumed because of a period of inactivity – with no other evidence – to have moved outside the state or county.
  • About 4,000 voters were purged through the NCOA Process.
  • 1,974 of those purged appear to have moved within the state and remain eligible to vote under Ohio’s Portable Voter Registration law.[1]
  • At least 1,000 of those purged appear to have moved within Cuyahoga County and should have been protected by the change that Democrats sought and won.

[1] ORC 3503.16