Ohio Sec. of State Moves to Purge Alleged Noncitizens From Voter Rolls

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) announced yesterday that his office instructed the board of elections in 88 counties to begin the process of removing noncitizen voters from election registration rolls. 

According to a press release from LaRose’s office, at least 137 noncitizen voters were allegedly identified by the secretary of state’s Public Integrity Division and Office of Data Analytics and Archives, through records from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Both Ohio and federal law prohibits noncitizens from registering to vote in state and federal elections and, according to LaRose’s office, the voters were identified through data that showed they twice confirmed their noncitizenship status to the BMV and were also on the voter registration rolls. 

Though that doesn’t necessarily mean all 137 voters are noncitizens who were illegally registered to vote; it could mean that either the BMV or voter registration data is out-of-date. As a result, the voters will receive two written notices from LaRose’s office to confirm their citizenship status. 

LaRose’s announcement comes on the heels of a nationwide push by congressional Republicans to ban noncitizens from voting in federal elections. Last week, U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced a bill requiring people to provide proof of their U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote in federal elections. 

The bill, entitled the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act, was first mentioned in April by Johnson during a press conference with former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where both Republicans falsely implied that enough noncitizens are voting that “it could turn an election.” 

The reality is that the unproven phenomena of noncitizen voting is a frequent scare tactic from the GOP. Numerous reports and studies have shown that instances of noncitizen voting in federal elections is extremely rare. And yet it’s not the first time congressional Republicans have tried to ban noncitizens from voting, despite the fact that the practice has been prohibited since at least 1996, when Congress passed a law making it illegal. 

In response to LaRose’s announcement, the Ohio Voter Right Coalition, a pro-voting nonprofit organization in the Buckeye State, put out a call to action for voters to check their registration to make sure they don’t get wrongly purged from the state’s voter registration. 


Wyoming voids 28% of its voter registrations in mandatory purge

By Maggie MullenWyoFile

Thousands of Wyoming residents could be surprised on Election Day when they show up to cast a ballot only to discover they’re no longer registered to vote. 

There are currently about 83,500 fewer registered voters in the state than at the end of 2022, a roughly 28% drop, according to data released Wednesday by the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office.

The sizable dip follows a mandatory voter purge that was likely magnified by a major shift in voter turnout between the 2020 and 2022 elections.

Wyoming law has long required county clerks to purge voter rolls each February, a process that involves removing voters who did not cast a ballot in the most recent election. So it’s not unusual for voter rolls to fluctuate. And, of course, some of that purge inevitably includes voters who have died or moved away. 

Still, local election officials and nonprofit organizations are hoping to inform voters ahead of time to avoid frustration or having to turn them away at the polls. 

“Our concern is simply people not realizing that they’re no longer registered and not bringing with them the appropriate materials to get re-registered, because you can register at the polls,” Tom Lacock with AARP told WyoFile. 

While a Wyoming driver’s license or ID card, a United States passport, a tribal ID card, a U.S. military card and some student IDs would be sufficient identification to register and to vote, other forms of identification would not. 

A Medicare or Medicaid insurance card, or a Wyoming concealed firearm permit, for example, would not allow someone to register to vote, but are acceptable IDs for already registered voters to cast a ballot. 

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Chuck Gray said the provision requiring the purge has been in state law for more than 50 years. 

“Voter roll hygiene and voter registry maintenance is extremely important to maintaining integrity and confidence in our electoral process,” he wrote in a statement to WyoFile. 


All 23 of Wyoming’s counties have experienced a decrease in registered voters since December 2022, according to the data. 

Campbell County saw the biggest drop, losing 34% of its voter registrations, while the smallest decrease was recorded in Hot Springs County at 17%. 

Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee pointed to a very high turnout in 2020 as one cause for the decline.  

“And so our voter rolls were large. And then in 2022, we had record low turnout [in the general election],” Lee told WyoFile, which fits the convention that presidential elections draw more voters than the midterms.

“That’s why we ended up with so many people who were purged,” Lee said. 

As is routine, Wyoming’s county clerks mailed notifications to the last known addresses of those who were set to be dropped from the voter rolls in 2023. This gave voters the opportunity to notify the clerk if they wanted to remain registered. 

Thousands ended up purged anyway. 

That included many who voted in 2022’s primary election, but not the general — which squares with another typical voting trend. The majority of races in Wyoming are effectively decided in August due to the state’s Republican supermajority.

Lacock said AARP is encouraging voters to contact their local county clerks to verify that they’re still registered, or ask any questions related to other changes to this year’s election. 

The window for absentee voting — also known as early voting — is shorter than before for most voters, and there’s a new limit on when voters can affiliate with a political party. 

The primary election is Aug. 20. Voter registration is now open. The last day registered voters can change their party affiliation is May 15. Unregistered voters, like those recently purged, can choose their party affiliation while registering, even if doing so after May 15, including at the polls on election day.

The candidate filing period runs May 16 to 31.


How to find out if you are still registered to vote before Ohio’s purge

By: Morgan Trau

Posted at 6:51 PM, May 03, 2024

and last updated 6:30 PM, May 03, 2024

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ahead of the November election, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has instructed officials to purge inactive voters from the rolls. Here is what you need to do to find out if you are still registered — plus how you can stay registered.

Ohioans are gearing up for the presidential election.

“I’ts very important to vote, got a lot of decisions to make,” Cuyahoga County voter Mary Jo Boehnlein said.

Boehnlein votes in every election. But not everyone does, like Cynthia Hatcher.

“Not the preliminaries,” Hatcher said. “Mostly November is when I really look forward to voting.”

Now — county boards of elections are trying to warn the infrequent voters to check their registration.

“A voter purge is just really an opportunity for us to keep our voter rolls clean,” Tony Kaloger, the deputy director of the Cuyahoga County BOE, said.

LaRose has just ordered local officials to start removing inactive voters, and the officials must have a list of people who they intend to remove by May 21. By May 31, final “registration readiness notice” mailers must be sent out.

Kaloger explained this happens every few years. If you change your mailing address and don’t vote for four years, your voter status could be canceled. Even if you don’t move but you don’t vote for six years — you could also be purged.

“There’s a lot of checks and balances to make sure that people who are registered, who do live in Cuyahoga County, do not unfairly or prematurely get canceled,” he said.

As stated above, boards of elections will send out mail numerous times to try to get you to confirm your address and voter status. If you respond, they will keep you on. You can also go to the local office or give them a call to ask about your status.

Although he didn’t last year, LaRose is supposed to put out a list of everyone he is removing from the rolls before the voter registration deadline. You can always go on the secretary of state website to look up if you are still registered.


Frivolous Lawsuit Targets Maryland’s Voter Rolls and Voting Systems

The case is part of a nationwide strategy to sow doubt in the 2024 election ahead of November.

April 9, 2024

In Maryland, two election denial groups are exploiting the courts to help lay the groundwork to undermine the 2024 election. The effort, part of a string of challenges to voter rolls and election procedures by an expansive network of activists and organizations, injects distrust into our electoral process.

The groups, Maryland Election Integrity and United Sovereign Americans, filed a lawsuit in March falsely claiming that Maryland’s voter rolls are inaccurate, its voting systems are unreliable, and the Maryland Board of Elections has “lost control of the voting system.” This legal effort, and similar ones across the country, are intertwined with the election denial movement that has for years sought to disrupt the democratic process. These suits threaten to wreak havoc in 2024.

Among other things, the plaintiffs claim that Maryland’s election system is out of compliance with the National Voter Registration Act, a law that is designed to increase voter registration and includes safeguards to ensure eligible voters are not accidentally removed from the rolls.

Claiming tens of thousands of errors within a state’s voting system does not make it so. To push back against this faulty suit, last week the Brennan Center filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Maryland State Board of Elections’ motion to dismiss. The brief argues that the suit’s claims are based on glaring methodological errors that leave the plaintiffs’ allegations without any basis in fact. It also highlights the dangers of suits like this one, designed to sow doubt in the integrity of the election system leading up to November. One of the plaintiff groups — United Sovereign Americans — has made clear that the Maryland lawsuit is part of a broader scheme, publicly stating that the group plans to file similar suits in at least 23 states on an “emergency basis.”

Under the National Voter Registration Act, states are required to make a “reasonable effort” to remove voters who have died or moved. The plaintiffs are relying on unsound statistical analysis to cast Maryland’s voter rolls as inflated with ineligible voters and call into question its entire election system. The groups have asked the court to block Maryland from administering or certifying any election until the alleged voter registration errors are remedied. However, these claims hinge on fundamentally flawed data analysis of the state’s voter rolls, and the groups bringing the lawsuit failed to meet the minimum legal requirements to show that the federal court has the authority to rule on their claims. 

Other groups have already filed suits across the country demanding unwarranted voter purges. Last week, the Brennan Center filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Michigan in a case brought by the Republican National Committee in Michigan. That lawsuit seeks to force the state to purge the voters rolls more aggressively, potentially putting eligible voters’ registrations at risk.

These lawsuits, riddled with misleading allegations, are nothing more than a smoke screen set up to confuse voters and lead to distrust in our elections. Creating unwarranted confusion and distrust was also a strategy around the 2020 vote, when lies and conspiracy theories shaped an entire movement aimed at overturning a legitimate election. It is precisely this distrust that has been fueling increased threats, harassment, and intimidation against elections officials. Election officials are already understaffed and overworked, and frivolous lawsuits like this strain election offices’ already limited resources, time, and taxpayer dollars.

This suit, and others based on similarly flawed claims, should be quickly and resoundingly rejected.

Brennan Center Article

After midterms, Wyoming lost over 80,000 registered voters, raising concerns

Routine voter purges cut 1 out of 4 Wyoming voters, and crossover voting is gone. Election advocates worry that voters won’t know about the changes until it’s too late.

After the 2022 midterm elections in Wyoming, over 80,000 registered voters were removed from the state’s voter rolls. During the 2023 legislative session, the state passed bills that prohibit crossover voting during primaries and shorten the early and absentee voting period.

Registered voters in the Cowboy State who did not participate in 2022’s general election will receive a letter from their county clerk stating their registration status will be removed unless they take action. Based on the latest numbers from the Secretary of State, more than 25% or one in four voters have been purged.

According to Laramie County Clerk Debra Lee, while the purge is standard procedure, the size of the lingering gap in registered voter numbers is not.

Lee, however, is more focused on how Wyoming voters will react to other changes, particularly the state’s elimination of crossover voting.

“Wyoming voters are very used to having the freedom to change, even on the election day. And I think we’ll see some very unhappy people,” Lee said.

‘Crossover voting’ was a practice in which voters could vote in whichever of Wyoming’s primaries they chose, regardless of party affiliation on election day. Now, registered voters must declare their party affiliation by May 15 to vote in the August 20 primary, but the filing period for candidates opens on May 16. according to Nate Martin, director of the non-profit Better Wyoming, this means that voters are forced to pick a party without knowing who represents it.

“The state is now stopping unaffiliated people from being able to know which candidates are running prior to their registering to vote in a primary,” Martin said. “There are a lot of independent-minded people in Wyoming who would rather vote for the person rather than the party.”

In addition to eliminating crossover voting, the number of days available for absentee voting has been reduced from 45 days ahead of an election to 28. Marguerite Herman, a Wyoming’s League of Women Voters representative, worries that changes to the Cowboy State’s election systems have not been publicized.

“The League of Women Voters and other groups that value civic engagement are concerned that voters are not aware of recently enacted restrictions,” Herman said.

The Secretary of State’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Visit USA Today’s Wyoming election guide to stay up-to-date on upcoming races, voter registration information, and more.

Cy Neff reports on Wyoming Politics for USA Today. You can reach him at cneff@usatoday.com, or on X, formerly known as Twitter @CyNeffNews

USA Today Article

Trump campaign, RNC pledge to deploy 100,000 attorneys and volunteers to monitor the vote

Democrats and election experts say the figure is unrealistic, but expressed concerns the effort could hamper normal election operations and intimidate voters.

April 19, 2024, 2:27 PM CDT

By Jane C. Timm

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee announced a massive “election integrity” operation on Friday, promising to deploy 100,000 volunteers and attorneys to battleground states to “protect the vote and ensure a big win” in November.

In a press release, officials said they wanted the volunteers and lawyers to monitor logic and accuracy testing, early voting, ballot tabulation, mail ballot processing and Election Day voting, as well as post-election canvasses, audits, and recounts. The release suggests they may intend to recruit poll workers, too.

“Having the right people to count the ballots is just as important as turning out voters on Election Day,” Trump said in the release..

“The RNC is hiring hundreds of election integrity staff across the map — more than ever before because our Party will be recruiting thousands of more observers to protect the vote in 2024. These campaign officials in states are tasked with recruiting, training, and when possible, shifting poll watchers and poll workers day in and day out,” added RNC co-chair Lara Trump.

Poll watching is a normal part of elections — both parties do it — but experts warn that unruly operations can be a problem. And as Trump and his allies continue to make false claims about the 2020 election, some experts worry that empowering these sort of observers at polling sites could hamper normal election operations or intimidate voters.

The GOP release notes they plan to work with “passionate grassroots coalitions who are deeply invested in fighting voter fraud.”

The planned operation would double the RNC’s promised 50,000-person operation from 2020, though some experts said both numbers figures were aspirational and unrealistic. The RNC did not respond to a request for data on how many people had volunteered or been staffed in recent elections.

“I’ve actually run a program like this with real people,” said Justin Levitt, a former advisor in the Biden White House on democracy issues who has previously worked in the Department of Justice on voting issues. “We did really well and got multiple tens of thousands.”

Recruiting individuals in particular to monitor for voter fraud, he said, is even harder than staffing poll workers.

“They’re recruiting people to stand there and watch for something that’s not going to happen. Can you please show up and watch, wait for the UFO for 15 hours?” he said.

Marc Elias, a leading Democratic election lawyer, agreed the 100,000 number was unrealistic, but said he was still concerned about the plans.

“I think they are going to have a massive voter suppression operation and it is going to involve very, very large numbers of people and very, very large numbers of lawyers,” he said. “I think we need to take the RNC literally and seriously — except on their numbers.”

Lauren Groh-Wargo, executive director of Fair Fight PAC, the political advocacy arm of the Georgia voting rights group of the same name, said the effort would harm election administration.

“The Republican National Committee’s new voter suppression unit is just the latest version of their cynical playbook to divide and intimidate voters and steal American’s voices by building an operation based on the lie of voter fraud,” she said in a statement.

Until 2018, the RNC’s poll watching plans were limited by a consent decree, which required it seek court approval to prove that any poll watching work wasn’t discriminatory.

That decree was put into place after Democrats sued and accused the RNC of sending armed, off-duty police officers to patrol the polls in minority neighborhoods in 1981. The decree required them to seek prior court approval for poll watching operations, but expired at the end of 2017 after 35 years.

Poll observers are a normal and beneficial part of the election process when they are well trained and do not interfere with administrators work, said David Becker, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research, a group that helps support election officials. An army of 100,000 would present a different dynamic, he said, but noted that election workers are prepared to handle unruly observers if they appear.

“They will protect the right of their voters to vote free of intimidation. If observers are acting any way contrary to voters interests or interfering with poll workers, they will be dealt with under the laws of the state,” he said.

NBC Article

RNC, Nevada GOP lawsuit claims voter roll inconsistencies in Nevada

By Jessica Hill Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 18, 2024 – 1:04 pm

Show audio player

State and national Republican organizations filed a lawsuit against Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar and other election officials on Monday, alleging inconsistencies in the state’s voter rolls.

The Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party assert in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court that Aguilar and several county clerks and registrars — including Clark County Registrar of Voters Lorena Portillo — have failed to maintain accurate voter rolls and is not complying with the National Voter Registration Act.

“Election integrity starts with clean voter rolls, and that’s why the National Voter Registration Act requires state officials to keep their rolls accurate and up-to-date,” RNC Chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement. “Securing clean voter rolls in Nevada is a critical step towards ensuring that it will be easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

The lawsuit makes similar accusations that the RNC made in a December letter to Aguilar, alleging three Nevada counties — Douglas, Lyon and Storey — have more registered voters than adult citizens over 18, and that five other counties — Carson City, Churchill, Clark, Eureka and Washoe — have what it called “suspiciously high rates” of registered voters. At that time, the committee demanded the secretary of state respond within 45 days and correct the alleged violations within 90 days, or else it would proceed with legal action.

In its January response, the state rebuffed those claims, arguing that the data RNC was using to determine the validity of the state’s voter registration records was like “comparing apples to orangutans,” and that the RNC’s analysis was made using incomparable data.

The attorney general’s office, representing the secretary of state, argued there is no dataset that would adequately determine whether registration rates and the eligible voting population are mismatched. It also highlighted the procedures the state goes through to ensure the voter rolls are properly maintained, such as working with the Nevada Registrar of Vital Statistics every day to update counties every time a voter is identified as deceased.

The Nevada secretary of state’s office referred the Las Vegas Review-Journal to its response letter when reached for comment on Monday.

Lawsuit details

The Nevada Republican Party — whose leaders have long cast doubt on Nevada’s election’s processes and are some of the so-called “fake electors” who submitted false electoral documents declaring Donald Trump the winner of the Silver State — touted evidence of past election fraud in Nevada’s elections, pointing to the cases of Donald Kirk Hartle, convicted of voting for his dead wife in2020, and Craig Frank, convicted of voting in two states in the 2016 election.

The lawsuit said the RNC and its members worry that what they see as the state’s failure to maintain voter rolls “undermines the integrity of elections by increasing the opportunity for ineligible voters or voters intent on fraud to cast ballots.”

“Nevada’s impossibly high registration rates, large rates of inactive registered voters, low numbers of removals, and inconsistent enforcement across counties indicate an ongoing, systemic problem with its voter-list maintenance efforts,” the lawsuit says.

Republican voter Scott Johnston was also named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, which claims that ineligible voters “can and do vote in Nevada’s elections,” and that those illegitimate votes “will dilute” Johnston’s vote, the complaint says. Inaccurate voter rolls also undermine Johnston’s confidence in the integrity of Nevada’s elections, the lawsuit purports.

The national committee uses states’ voter registration lists to develop plans and budgets, and the lists help the RNC estimate the number of staff it needs in a given area, the number of volunteers needed to contact voters, etc. If voter registration lists are not up-to-date, the RNC might misallocate its resources on door-knocking, mailers and other outreach efforts, the lawsuit argues.

Maintaining accurate voter rolls is especially important given Nevada’s automatic mail-ballot system that automatically sends a mail ballot to a voter unless they opt out, the lawsuit says.

“Mailing ballots based on inaccurate registration lists further damages the integrity of Nevada’s elections,” the lawsuit says.

‘Time and resources’

Nevada GOP and the RNC asked the court to find the secretary of state and the other plaintiffs in violation of the National Voter Registration Act and to issue an injunction barring them from violating the act. It also asks the court to order the defendants to develop and implement effective registration list-maintenance programs to ensure that ineligible registrants are not on the voter rolls and to pay for the plaintiff’s expenses relating to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said the plaintiffs have spent a lot of “time and resources investigating Defendants’ failure to comply with their list-maintenance obligations.”

Nevada’s election administration has come under a microscope in the last few months, especially after glitches caused by a reported coding error fueled distrust among Nevadans, some of whom have believed the repeatedly disproved claims of election fraud since the 2020 election. Aguilar had apologized for those errors occurring, and reiterated the security of Nevada’s elections.

Michael McDonald, chairman of the Nevada Republican Party who has promoted unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, told the Review-Journal that every vote must count, whether its a Republican, Democrat, Independent or Libertarian.

“The only way that happens is with clean voter rolls,” he said. “This is not a partisan issue. This is about all Nevadans having their voices heard.”

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

The Republican National Committee sues Michigan over the state’s voter rolls

The move claiming that Michigan’s voter rolls are inflated comes as Trump allies have moved into leadership positions at the RNC ahead.

March 13, 2024, 5:39 PM CDT

By Jane C. Timm

The Republican National Committee sued Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, on Wednesday in an attempt to force election officials to trim down the state’s voter rolls.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court, argues that Michigan is violating the National Voter Registration Act’s requirement to maintain clean and accurate vote registration rolls.

The move comes just days after Trump allies effectively took over the RNC’s leadership ahead of the 2024 election.

“At least 53 Michigan counties have more active registered voters than they have adult citizens who are over the age of 18. That number of voters is impossibly high,” the lawsuit said. “An additional 23 counties have active-voter registration rates that exceed 90 percent of adult citizens over the age of 18. That figure far eclipses the national and statewide voter registration rate in recent elections.”

America’s voter roll system is built for registration, not removal. The rolls often include outdated registration as most voters do not remove themselves from the system when they move.

And while federal law requires officials take steps to keep the rolls up-to-date, it also protects voters from overzealous purges by requiring that officials wait years to remove a voter who has simply stopped casting a ballot.

Still, there’s no evidence that bloated voter rolls lead to voter fraud, even as Republicans increasingly seize on the rolls as a focus of their election activism.

Benson told NBC News in a statement that election officials in the state have “done more in the last five years than was done in the previous two decades to remove deceased voters and ineligible citizens from our voting rolls and ensure their accuracy.”

She said more than 700,000 voters have have been removed from the voter rolls since she took office, while another half million will be removed if they do not vote in this year’s general election.

“Let’s call this what it is: a PR campaign masquerading as a meritless lawsuit filled with baseless accusations that seek to diminish people’s faith in the security of our elections. Shame on anyone who abuses the legal process to sow seeds of doubt in our democracy,” Benson added.

Since the 2020 election, some Republican activists have taken to personally challenging the eligibility of thousands of voters and developing a computer program they believe will help them find fraud.

In recent years, conservative activists also seized on a prominent voter roll maintenance program known as ERIC (the Electronic Registration Information Center), a bipartisan, interstate partnership that helps states share data to keep their voter rolls up-to-date. After conspiracy theories about ERIC flourished, nine GOP-lead states left the program, taking their data with them and weakening the coalition’s efficacy.

The RNC suit in Michigan, a key battleground state, suggests voter rolls may become a more central part of the GOP’s election law strategy.

The filing occurred the same day NBC News reported that two election lawyers, Charlie Spies and Christina Bobb, were joining the RNC.

Bobb has been a prominent advocate of the GOP’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen. She will serve as senior counsel for election integrity, while Spies, a longtime lawyer for the GOP, serves as general counsel.

Speaking to conservative activists in 2021, Spies disputed election conspiracy theories and pushed supporters to adopt election changes that would make the system more palatable to Republicans.

“The deal is early voting is not going away,” he said. “We’ve got to take advantage of that, and telling people not to vote early is cutting your nose off to spite your face. It doesn’t work.”

He continued: “We change the system, make us super confident in it,” he said. “Then encourage people to vote using the laws that we have.”

Jane C. Timm

Jane C. Timm is a senior reporter for NBC News.