While nearly every county was happy to discuss what local officials call the “voter purge” process, the records they provided were a morass of half-kept data and confusing spikes in removed voters. And the numbers they sent to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission weren’t much better.
At best, these records reveal a lack of care by some election officials tracking voters taken off the rolls.
At worst, they point to a system of removing voters that’s far from uniform – meaning where you live could determine when, or if, your voter registration is deleted. And that could affect whose votes count, and whose don’t, in a critical battleground state that may determine the next president.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, insists counties are removing voters from the rolls in a uniform manner across all 88 counties.
“Everyone is being removed by the same standard statewide,” Husted said. “There is not a variance between county to county.”
But he doesn’t have a number for how many people were removed either. Husted doesn’t know whether that figure has increased or decreased over the 20-plus years the state has removed voters this way. His office does compile how many warning notices are sent to people who might be removed: more than 4.6 million notice since 2011. Some of those people are taken off the rolls if they don’t respond to the notice or vote in the following four years.
In Ohio, county officials run the show. They are tasked with removing voters who haven’t voted in six years or have failed to respond to notices that they might be kicked off. Surely they would track how many people were removed from the rolls in this controversial way.
It depends. Some county election officials kept detailed records on how many people were removed. Others were pretty sure it had been years since they removed people for not voting.