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Rep. Sweeney reveals new errors in Sec. LaRose's ongoing voter purge

Thousands of qualified voters purged from the rolls in error over the weekend
September 18, 2019
Democrat Newsroom

State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today revealed that a faulty list compiled by the Secretary of State’s office has caused thousands of voters to be purged from the voter rolls. The problem was discovered through public records requests.

“I am watching this slow motion voter purge play out each week, and I am stunned at how many errors we continue to find,” said Rep. Sweeney. “Secretary LaRose listened to pressure from Democratic officials and changed part of his policy, but he still ordered the removal of thousands of eligible voters who moved within their county – in violation of his own instructions. Hundreds of voters in my county who were not supposed to be removed have now had their registrations canceled.

“We need answers,” Rep. Sweeney continued. “This process requires both rapid transparency and accountability. When mistakes happen, we need to restore voter confidence immediately by addressing those errors. Last week, we raised the issue of wrongfully purged voters but there’s been no explanation to the public from the Secretary’s office. What’s more, it is unclear when the ongoing purge will end. Voting for the November election begins for military service members in just three days. We need to stop and reverse this purge and reinstate these voters today.

“It’s not fair to blame the county boards of elections for this disastrous voter purge. The Secretary has had repeated opportunities to stop this and relieve the pressure on the counties. Our boards of elections have important work to do to secure our elections but have had to dedicate precious time to this misguided, unnecessary purge.”

After agreeing to some of Democrats’ demands, the Secretary’s office provided each county with what he said was a list of all voters who moved in county and told the boards to keep those voters on the rolls. However, data from five counties obtained by Rep. Sweeney’s office shows that Secretary LaRose undercounted those voters who moved in-county. As a result, many voters were purged who should have been kept on the rolls. The table below shows for the five counties how many in county movers were on the original “last chance” list, how many were on the Secretary’s September 6 list, and how many appear to have been improperly purged so far.

IN-COUNTY MOVERS:

County

On original August

“last chance” list:

On LaRose’s Sept. 6th list:

Improperly purged as of September 14:

LUCAS 

More than 1,100

199

At least 252

CUYAHOGA

More than 1,500

450

At least 1,045

FRANKLIN

More than 1,240

331

Possibly 10

HAMILTON

More than 639

127

At least 525

SUMMIT

More than 380

178

At least 321

Ohio TOTAL

?

3,710

?

Data used by Rep. Sweeney’s office to analyze the voter purge so far comes from the Secretary of State’s office and boards of elections:

  • the original “last chance” purge list made public by Secretary LaRose in August
  • the statewide voter file published weekly on the Secretary of State’s website
  • a statewide list of 3,710 voters purporting to be all the voters who moved within their county, compiled by Secretary LaRose and sent to the county boards of elections on September 6 with Directive 2019-22
  • 2015 national change of address service lists from five county boards of elections

Secretary of State directives on purging voters who may have moved dictate that voters be placed on the purge list through one of two processes, but not both – either the national change of address (NCOA) process or the Supplemental Process.