COLUMBUS – State Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Westlake), Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland), Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland), State Senator Bill DeMora (D-Columbus), and Innovation Ohio’s CEO and Executive Director Desiree Sims today held a press conference following the latest attempt by Secretary of State Frank LaRose to limit voters’ freedoms.
“I am calling on the secretary to reverse this voter purge and pause it for all 88 counties until after the election, as he has already done for three counties he cherry-picked,” said Rep. Sweeney. “It is incumbent upon the secretary to provide Ohioans with answers. They deserve to have confidence in our elections.”
On September 28th, Secretary of State LaRose’s office purged nearly 27,000 people from the voter rolls, with voting already underway for the November 7th election. The press conference highlighted House Democrats' commitment to expanding the vote, keeping eligible voters on the rolls, and removing deliberate barriers to voting.
“We are hearing of an unfair, calculated voter purge by the secretary of state who is still lacking the communication of doing a fair audit, reaching out to people, and letting them know that they are not going to be eligible to vote. That is what’s happening in the state of Ohio,” said Rep. Brent. “Voters deserve to have that confidence to know that once they register to vote one time, they don’t have to be looking behind their back.”
“In light of his abuse of taxpayer dollars, his neglect of voters, and frankly disrespect of the office he holds, I am doing what any sane person would and calling for Secretary LaRose to either resign as secretary of state or suspend his Senate bid and concentrate on the job he was elected to do,” said Senator DeMora. “He has clearly shown to the people of Ohio that he cannot do both at the same time!”
President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Rep. Upchurch (D-Cleveland) and Innovation Ohio’s Desiree Sims also spoke at today’s event sharing the impact on minority communities and lower-income Ohioans.
“Here we are again with another unfair, calculated voter purge by the secretary of state. We still see the same issues with lack of communication, manipulation, and the attempts to limit the freedoms of voters in hopes of keeping their own gerrymandered grip on power,” said Rep. Upchurch. “This not only limits the voice of the people, it further supports the systemic problems that have left our low-income and minority communities facing disproportionate challenges. Voters deserve to have confidence in their elections and their vote, not fear that they will be erased from the voter rolls.”
“In our initial dive into the latest round of 27,000 newly purged registrations, 10% are black and 65% are under the age of 50. 4,000 of them even voted in August or last November,” said Innovation Ohio’s CEO and Executive Director Desiree Sims. “Instead of purging voters, Innovation Ohio Education Fund recommends promoting voter-friendly public policies. Voting should be fair, easy, and not out to punish our neighbors.”
House Democrats will continue to ensure that all Ohioans have access to the ballot box and have their vote counted. We are committed to the sacred principle of “one person, one vote”—and we will fight to achieve that principle for every citizen, no matter who you are or where you come from.