COLUMBUS – As critics of the way Ohio maintains its voter rolls continue their misinformation campaign, Secretary of State Jon Husted today set the record straight regarding one of the loudest voices to come forward – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.
“Sherrod Brown has earned the hypocrisy of the day award because as Ohio’s Secretary of State he removed inactive voters from the rolls after four years, while in my administration we reach out to voters and keep them on the rolls up to six years,” Secretary Husted said. “After spending all that time in Washington he must have forgotten the facts about what he did when he was the state’s chief elections official.”
Yesterday, Brown filed an amicus brief in the case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the way Ohio keeps its voter rolls accurate and up-to-date. However, in the filing and press release that accompanied, Brown failed to acknowledge that the policies in place over the last 20 years – and across four secretaries of state from both political parties – are far more generous than those he supported and enforced in the past.
In June 1978, then State Representative Sherrod Brown voted to approve House Bill 1209 that, in part, called for the canceling of any voters who had not cast a ballot in four years. Then in December 1980, he voted to approve House Bill 1062, which modified statute to allow for the removal of a voter for not voting in four years, registering a change of address or otherwise updating their registration. Both bills became law and were enforced by Brown during his tenure as Ohio’s Secretary of State from 1983-1991.
HB 1209 read in part:
“Sec. 3503.21: At the beginning of each calendar year, the board of elections shall cancel the registration of each registered elector who has not voted at least once in the four next preceding calendar years, send to such person at his last known address a printed notice that his eligibility to vote has been cancelled by reason of his failure to vote in four calendar years and that he must reregister in order to be eligible to vote. The notice shall be in the form prescribed by the secretary of state, and shall be accompanied by a registration form and instructions for reregistration.”
HB 1062 read in part:
“Sec. 3503.21: At the beginning of each calendar year, the board of elections shall cancel the registration of each registered elector who has not voted at least once in the four next preceding calendar years, and OR HAS NOT REGISTERED A CHANGE OF ADDRESS OR OTHERWISE UPDATED HIS REGISTRATION DURING THAT PERIOD. THIRTY DAYS PRIOR TO THE CANCELLATION, THE BOARD SHALL send to EACH such person at his last known address a printed notice that his eligibility to vote has been WILL BE cancelled by reason of his failure to vote OR TO UPDATE HIS REGISTRATION in four calendar years and that he must reregister UPDATE HIS REGISTRATION in order to be eligible to vote. The notice shall be in the form prescribed by the secretary of state, and shall be accompanied by a registration form and instructions for reregistration.”
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 600,000 deceased Ohioans from the rolls and the resolution of 1.7 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 1.9 million registered voters to update their registrations and to 1.76 million Ohioans who are eligible, but unregistered, to encourage them to participate (Click here for more information).
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