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Voter Purge Project Report

On October 1, we released Unnecessary Disenfranchisement: Voter Purges Around the Country, a report detailing our work to monitor and organize against wrongful purges across the country.

Read the full report below for background on the project, our methods, and what we are doing to ensure eligible voters are informed of their voter status as November’s elections draw near.



Voter purge in Ohio: Will you be knocked off the list?

by Signal Akron June 4, 2024

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has again launched an initiative to remove inactive voters from the voter list prior to an election. The state’s 88 county boards of elections are tasked with reviewing and reporting records of voters who have not voted for the last four years.

Last year, nearly 27,000 Ohio voters were purged from the list.

“Ohio’s voter list maintenance procedures have been administered by bipartisan election officials for at least the last 30 years, since the passage of the National Voter Rights Act,” said Secretary LaRose in a press release. “These steps should give Ohioans confidence that election integrity is our top priority.” 

How can you avoid being part of the voter purge? Check out Signal Akron’s guide below to make sure you’re ready to vote this November. 

How to avoid the Ohio voter purge: Check your registration

Making sure your voter registration is up to date is essential to ensuring you don’t fall off the voter list. Voter registration can be checked online ​​or by contacting the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

When purging voter lists, the board of elections focuses on these groups of voters: 

  • Voters who were flagged for removal previously 
  • Voters who moved to a new address and did not update their registration
  • Voters who are newly registered but whose mailed registration acknowledgement was declared undeliverable by the Postal Service
  • Voters whose voter records do not match the information provided by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Updating your address is key

One field that needs to be correct: your address.

Voters need to make sure their correct address is on file with the Board of Elections.  Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Manager, Mike West said in an email. Residents can click here to use the county website:  or they can call 216-443-VOTE (8683) to update their information

“You can use the address where you live as long as it is not business or a post office box,” West said. Any voters without a permanent address can use a temporary one, such as a shelter. In Cleveland the shelter addresses are for the Cosgrove Center, Luthern Men’s Shelter, Westside Catholic Center and Norma Herr Women’s Center.

How to register to vote and important dates

Oct. 7 is the registration deadline for the Nov. 5 General Election. Purged voters have until Oct. 7 to re-register.

Voters can register onlineby mail or in person, including at Cleveland Public Library branches.

To register online to vote, voters need an Ohio driver’s license or Ohio identification card number, a current address, and the last four digits of their social security number. 

“If a person moves after the October registration deadline, they can go to the county’s website, use their new address to find their new voting location,” West said. “Once there, they can vote by using a provisional ballot.  The provisional process will also automatically update their address.”

Who is eligible to vote?

U.S. citizens who will be at least 18 years old by Election Day (Nov. 5) are eligible to vote. You must be an Ohio resident for at least 30 days prior to the election. 

Also, in Ohio a felony conviction does not disqualify a person from voting. Furthermore, if you are serving a sentence for a misdemeanor crime or are charged with a felony crime but have not been convicted, you are still eligible to vote. You may also vote if you are on probation, community control, parole, house arrest or living in a halfway house or treatment center.

If you are currently incarcerated for a felony conviction, you are not eligible to vote. 

Here is the full list of voter eligibility requirements:

  • You are a citizen of the United States.  
  • You will be at least 18 years old on or before the day of the general election. 
  • You will be a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days immediately before the election in which you want to vote. 
  • You are not incarcerated (in jail or in prison) for a felony conviction. 
  • You have not been declared incompetent for voting purposes by a probate court. 
  • You have not been permanently disenfranchised for violations of election laws

Source

Republicans sue to purge at least 500,000 people from Arizona’s voter rolls

BY: EMILY HOLSHOUSER – JUNE 10, 2024 10:42 AM

The leaders of the Arizona Republican Party and a conservative dark money group have filed a lawsuit alleging the state has not kept an accurate count of registered voters and asking a court to force elections officials to purge 500,000 Arizonans from the voter rolls.

The federal lawsuit claims that the state’s list of registered voters contains up to 1.27 million voters who have either died or moved out of state, violating the National Voter Registration Act.

Four counties in Arizona have more registered voters than total voting-age citizens, the group’s suit says — Apache, La Paz, Navajo and Santa Cruz. The suit uses 2022 voter registration figures and data  from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The suit was filed by Scot Mussi, president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club; Arizona GOP chair Gina Swoboda; and Steve Gaynor, who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for Arizona secretary of state in 2018.

“Election integrity is a serious issue in our nation,” said Mussi in a written statement announcing the lawsuit. “Ensuring that Arizonans can have faith in the integrity of our election system and representative government starts with clean voter rolls that leave no doubts about who is able to cast a ballot.

In the suit, Mussi and the others claim that Secretary of State Adrian Fontes has failed to develop a maintenance program to remove ineligible voters, and that he has admitted to that failure, describing the program as “in development.” 

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that advocates for conservative policies and spends to help Republican candidates win election, has filed multiple other lawsuits against Fontes. One from October 2023 attempted to block the use of ballot boxes in the state, while another filed in February sought to defend ballot box monitoring.

Arizona Secretary of State spokesperson JP Martin said that the state’s voter registration monitoring is “up to date and compliant with federal and state laws.”

Martin said that Fontes’ office would not comment on an ongoing legal case, but voters have no reason for concern and that the lawsuit is based on speculation rather than evidence.

A trial date for the suit has not been set.

Source

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. 

Source

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. 

Details

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.

Source

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.

Source

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