Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s efforts to purge its voting rolls, allowing the state to kick people off the rolls if they do not vote in a certain number of elections and do not respond to a notice from election officials. This is a huge blow to voting rights in our state and, based on the names that have already been purged, we know that this policy disproportionately impacts minority voters.
Here’s what this means for voters:
- If you skip one federal election, you will be sent a notice from election officials.
- If you do not respond to this notice AND you do not vote in the next four years, your name will be taken off the voter rolls.
Four years may seem like a long time, but many voters may just choose to vote in presidential elections.
For example: A voter could have chosen to sit out the 2016 presidential election (we already know turnout was LOW).
Then, they don’t respond to the election notice they receive. Maybe they moved. Maybe they didn’t receive it. Maybe they just didn’t understand that it was important.
Now, if they don’t vote in a non-presidential election before 2020, they will be taken off the voter rolls. That means when they show up to vote in 2020, they won’t be registered and it might be too late.
There are two specific things we can do in the coming months to fight this:
1. Check your voter registration and then ask at least 5 family/friends/neighbors/other people to do the same. You can check your voter registration using this easy online tool: https://indivisible.turbovote.org/
This allows you to double check your registration status and to register to vote if you aren’t registered or you need to update your information.
You can also check your registration here: https://www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/voters/toolkit/voter-registration/
2. Get informed about the Ohio Secretary of State race. This race may not always get as much attention as the governor race, but it is just as important.
The Ohio Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing the entire elections process AND for appointing members to the board of elections in each county. They also sit on the Ohio Redistricting Commission and oversee campaign finance compliance within the state.
They have a huge amount of power over the way elections work in our state and we need to make sure we elect a secretary of state who will fight to EXPAND voting rights, not create extra barriers for voters.
There are two candidates running for Secretary of State this year and you need to be informed about them.
Kathleen Clyde (D): http://www.kathleenclyde.com/
Frank LaRose (R): https://www.franklarose.com/issues/
Go to their websites and read up. Decide which one you think will focus on protecting our right to vote and then get involved. Volunteer for their campaign! Donate! Make sure your personal network understands why they need to vote down ballot, especially in this race.