File-Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose interacts with staff members as they follow the election from Ohio's election command center Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. 

(The Center Square) – Ohio’s 88 boards of election began the process of removing inactive voters and those who have moved from the state’s voter rolls this week, Secretary of State Frank LaRose said.

The four-year process identifies voters who have not voted in an election for at least two years and those that appear on the National Change of Address database. Each of those identified would be sent a confirmation notice informing them of their inactivity and how to remain active.

Those registered can remain on the rolls by voting in any election over the next four years, submitting an absentee ballot application, updating or confirming an address with a board of election or the DMV or sign a candidate or issue petition certified by a board of election.

“Ohio has been setting records for voter turnout because Ohioans know that our elections are both convenient and secure. That success requires an elections system with integrity,” LaRose said. “Abandoned registrations clog that system up, making it more difficult for election officials to do their jobs and putting the security of our elections at risk.”

LaRose pushed for passage of House Bill 294, a Republican voting bill introduced earlier this year.

House Bill 294 remains in committee and proposes changes to Ohio’s election laws that would reduce the number of early voting days and require two forms of identification in certain situations. It also requires testing of voting machines before use in all elections and expands the definition of voter activity. It also allows up to three ballot drop boxes to be placed on boards of election property, no matter the population of a county.

The bill eliminates early voting on the Monday before an election and calls for those hours to be added to other days. The deadline to request an absentee ballot would be 10 days before an election, and it allows for automated voter registration, but not automatic registration.

“We’ve made some big moves to improve the process to keep our voter rolls accurate, encourage participation and fixing errors before they cause issues,” LaRose said. “While we’ve made great strides in carrying out the process required under Ohio law, we can do so much better if we modernize our voter list-maintenance and registration procedures. There is legislation already introduced in the General Assembly that gets that done and I’m hopeful we can make this vital modernization a reality.”

Democrats say the bill is an attempt to suppress voters and launched a statewide listening tour after its introduction.

The General Assembly returns to work next week after a recess.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.