Non-Citizens to be Removed from Ohio's Voter Rolls Prior to 2024 Election

  • by:
  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 05/15/2024
Non-citizens are the focus of Ohio's Secretary of State Frank LaRose's latest initiative to clean up the state's voter rolls. A recent review of the rolls by the Secretary of State's Public Integrity Division and Office of Data Analytics and Archives found, according to a May 14 press release, "137 voter registrations assigned to Ohio residents who have twice confirmed their non-citizenship status to the BMV. Ohio law requires two instances of individuals submitting documentation to the BMV indicating that they are not United States citizens. The individual must also have either registered to vote, updated a registration, or voted in Ohio between the two instances of submitting the required documentation to the BMV." 

LaRose stated, "Ohioans overwhelmingly passed an amendment to our state constitution which makes it clear that only U.S. citizens can vote in our elections," said Secretary LaRose. "It is my duty under the law to uphold the constitution, and the legislature has explicitly tasked me with ensuring that only eligible citizens can register and vote. It's important to recognize that some of these registrations may be the result of an honest mistake," LaRose continued. "These may be well-meaning people trying to pursue the American dream, and communication barriers sometimes result in a registration form being submitted in error. We need to help them get that cleared up before an accidental registration becomes an illegal vote that could result in a felony conviction or even deportation."

To cross-check citizenship data, the Secretary also requested additional access to records held by the Biden administration. The requests include:

  • Access to the SAVE database, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration resource that helps verify citizenship status.
  • Access to citizenship-identifying records from the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration databases.
  • Federal district court records that disclose individuals disqualified from jury service due to a lack of U.S. citizenship.

Non-citizen voting has become a significant issue ahead of the 2024 election because the U.S. election system makes it challenging to accurately track non-citizen registrations and non-citizen voters. Due to Biden's open borders policies, the nation's borders have been flooded with illegal aliens, with over 10 million people entering the country since Biden took office in 2021—not including the "gotaways," according to True the Vote's published 611 Project.

Ohio Withdrew from ERIC in Spring 2023, Prompting a New System of Maintaining Voter Rolls
The new data analytics team was hired following Ohio's exit from ERIC in the Spring of 2023. LaRose wrote a letter to ERIC on Mar. 6, 2023, proposing reforms in the ERIC system, but his requests were met with resistance. Ohio was the sixth state to withdraw from the ERIC voter registration maintenance system. Since then, LaRose has taken steps to enhance the process of purging illegal registrations from the state's voter rolls. County boards will identify voters whose registrations have been inactive for four years. 

Aside from removing non-citizens, a May 2 directive asked counties to engage in a more comprehensive effort to ensure the accuracy of the state's rolls. Counties are directed to identify alleged illegal registrations by May 21 and must mail notices by May 31. The state's searchable database of inactive voter registrations will also be updated after May 21.

The ongoing review of possible gaps in Ohio's voter roll maintenance program requires counties to cross-reference voter registrations for the following issues:
  • Voters who moved but failed to update their addresses in the system. Registrations flagged for cancelation in 2024 were first identified by the U.S. Postal Service's National Change of Address (NCOA) registry in 2020 and have been confirmed inactive for four years.
  • Past due removals: The Secretary directed county boards to review registration data for records that may have been previously flagged for removal after the required four-year waiting period. "If the registrations are confirmed again to be inactive and eligible for removal, the boards have been directed to initiate that process. The Secretary of State's Office of Data Analytics and Archive, the first of its kind in the nation, identified this issue as part of an ongoing data integrity investigation."
  • Returned acknowledgments: "These new registrations received an acknowledgment notice from a county board of elections that was returned as undeliverable by the Postal Service. By law, the registration must be placed in confirmation status, meaning the voter is notified by forwardable mail that they either need to update the registration or engage in "voter-initiated activity" to avoid cancelation."
  • BMV Mismatches: "By law, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles provides identification records to boards of elections used to verify voter registrations, such as a registrant's name, date of birth, last four digits of a Social Security number, driver's license number and whether the person has been identified as deceased. If any of this information mismatches with a voter's registration, the registration must be put into confirmation status, meaning the voter is notified by forwardable mail that they either need to update the registration or engage in "voter-initiated activity" to avoid cancelation."
LaRose is the first Secretary of State in the country to publish a "Registration Readiness roster." The Ohio Secretary of State's website will list the roster for public review. The website allows Ohioans to check inactive registrations before the removal is initiated. LaRose reassured Ohioans that he is committed to election integrity as a top priority, "These steps should give Ohioans confidence that election integrity is our top priority. The process we're initiating this week is just part of a larger, aggressive effort to ensure Ohio is ready for another high-profile presidential election this fall. We'll have more to announce soon."

In Ohio, a voter's registration status must meet the following conditions:

  • The voter was notified no later than Jun. 30, 2020, that they appeared in the NCOA out-of-county database; OR whose notice was returned undeliverable; OR whose BMV records do not reflect voter registration.
  • Registered to vote before Feb. 18, 2020
  • No voting history since Apr. 28, 2020
  • Has not engaged in any "voter-initiated activity" since they received a 2020 notice.
Voter-initiated activity includes voting, updating voter registration, submitting an absentee ballot request form, and signing a candidate or issuing a petition verified by a board of elections. Voters in Ohio should use the following form to update their registrations. Once notified, voters will have until Jul. 15 to update registration or engage in voter-initiated activity. Voters who fail to update their registration will be purged from the rolls on Jul. 22. New voter registration applications must be postmarked 30 days before the election to be eligible to vote in that election. 

In another directive from LaRose, counties purged 26,666 registrations from the rolls in 85 counties in September 2023 before the November election, a decision that was criticized as "reckless" in a letter sent by State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Westlake). Another 6,524 abandoned registrations were removed in Cuyahoga, Lucas, and Summit counties following the Nov. 7, 2023 General Election. Over 124,000 voters were also removed from the rolls after the 2022 election. 

Innovations Ohio also criticized the Secretary of State in an "Ohio's Missing Voters" report published in October 2023. The group attributed the alleged decline (over 3% overall) in voter turnout between 2018 and 2022 to the Secretary's failure to register disadvantaged populations in the state. LaRose took office in 2018.

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