Ohio and many other states regularly purge voter registration lists of people who have moved or died. Recently, though, Ohio officials have purged any voters who have not voted since 2008. This means tens of thousands of voters who may rightly believe that they were registered to vote, but only last voted in 2008, will no longer be registered for the upcoming election.
Secretary of State Husted claims that “If this is really important thing to you in your life, voting, you probably would have done so within a six-year period.” However, it is widely known that voter turnout is much lower in midterm elections than presidential elections. And skipping out on one presidential election hardly means that someone is never going to vote again - both national and Ohio turnout were lower in 2012 than in 2008. The right to vote exists regardless of whether one actively exercises that right or not.
Like many other voting restrictions in Ohio, this purge disproportionately affects lower-income and minority voters. In Ohio’s three biggest counties, one of which being Cuyahoga, at least 144,000 voters have been purged.
In order to not show up to the polls on Election Day only to find out that you’ve been purged, there are a few things you can do. If you want to check your registration status, you can do so at www.MyOhioVote.com. If you know or you’re fairly certain that you haven’t voted since 2008, the best thing to do is to register again. You can get a registration form online, at the County Board of Elections, or a public library.
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by Megan Shanklin