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Husted Defends Accurate and Clean Voter Rolls in Ohio

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today filed an appeal with the United States Supreme Court in the case of A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) v. Jon Husted in his official capacity as the Ohio Secretary of State, which challenges Ohio’s longstanding process for maintaining its voter rolls.

“Maintaining accurate and up-to-date voter rolls is the responsibility of elections officials because the law requires it of us and the voters expect us to do it,” Secretary Husted said. “If an individual dies, moves without updating their registration or fails to respond to repeated attempts by elections officials to contact them they will be removed from the rolls because maintaining the integrity of our elections and guarding against voter fraud is too important to do nothing.”

Though the district court sided with the state in the case, a divided panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Ohio’s voter roll maintenance process, which has remained largely unchanged for over two decades, under both Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State. The process aims to remove outdated and inaccurate registrations from the voter rolls including those of deceased voters and individuals who have moved to a new jurisdiction.

"In light of the national conversation about elections, Ohio has been commended for how we maintain accurate voter rolls and we don't want to take a step backwards," Secretary Husted added.

Since taking office, Secretary Husted has made maintaining accurate voter rolls a priority in order to increase election integrity and voter confidence. These efforts have resulted in the removal of 532,000 deceased Ohioans from the rolls and the resolution of 1.6 million voters who were registered more than once.

Proper maintenance of the state’s voter rolls have resulted in fewer Ohioans having trouble casting a ballot and more ballots being counted. On average, fewer provisional ballots have been cast during Secretary Husted’s tenure than under his predecessor and a higher percentage of those cast have been counted.

In addition to his efforts to maintain accurate voter rolls, Secretary Husted has also undertaken unprecedented voter engagement efforts, including reaching out to 1.5 million registered voters to update their registrations and to 1.65 million Ohioans who are eligible, but unregistered, to encourage them to participate (more information here).

While partisan activists have asserted that up to 2 million voters had been wrongfully removed from the voter rolls, data from the 2016 Presidential Election returned only 7,500 ballots cast by those removed after election officials were not able to contact them.

To read Secretary Husted’s full brief in the case, click here. To read shortened excerpts of the brief, click here.

Editor’s Quick Facts:

  • Since 2011, Secretary Husted has removed 532,000 deceased voters from Ohio’s voter rolls.
  • Since 2011, Secretary Husted has resolved over 1.6 million duplicate registrations on Ohio’s voter rolls.
  • Since Secretary Husted took office, fewer provisional ballots have been cast on average, than under his predecessor (166,808 fewer, in his first term alone). Data breakdown available here.
  • Since Secretary Husted took office, 2.58 % more provisional ballots have been counted than under his predecessor.
  • In 2016, Secretary Husted reached out to 1.65 million eligible, but unregistered voters to encourage them to participate.

Quick Case Facts:

April 6, 2016
A. Philip Randolph Institute filed suit to overturn the state's process for maintaining the voter rolls. The suit was filed against the decades-old process just seven months before a Presidential General Election. Read Secretary Husted's statement here.

June 29, 2016
Judge George C. Smith of the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division ruled Ohio’s voter roll maintenance process was constitutional and in line with federal law. Read excerpts of Judge Smith’s ruling here. Read Secretary Husted’s statement here.

Sept. 23, 2016
Just 46 days before the Presidential General Election, a deeply divided panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Smith’s order and remanded the case back to Judge Smith for the issuance of a remedy. Read the ruling from the panel here. Read Secretary Husted’s statement here.

Oct. 19, 2016
Just 20 days before the Presidential General Election, the district court issued a temporary remedy to govern only that election. Read that remedy here. In an effort to quell confusion regarding registration requirements ahead of the election, Secretary Husted declined to request emergency relief. Read Secretary Husted’s statement here.

Additional Information:


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