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Discrepancies In County Voter List Maintenance Data Discovered, Solved By Secretary of State's Office

COLUMBUS - The Secretary of State’s office discovered a discrepancy between the Registration Reset lists submitted to our office by Franklin, Henry, Huron, and Mercer counties and the lists used by those counties to send Last Chance notices to affected registrations.

The Registration Reset List on now accurately reflects those changes. No registration cancellations have taken place because of this process.

What has changed:

  • Franklin County’s total has changed from 25,435 to 24,307
  • Henry County’s total has changed from 104 to 603
  • Huron County’s total has changed from 656 to 832
  • Mercer County’s total has changed from 957 to 679

How the discrepancy was discovered:

Secretary LaRose has instituted new processes to improve auditing of reimbursements submitted by county boards of elections. In this case, county boards can be reimbursed by the Secretary of State’s office for costs incurred for sending their Last Chance mailing to inactive registrations. Our review of reimbursements could not begin until after the Last Chance mailings had been completed, costs finalized, and billing statements submitted to the Secretary’s office.

During this auditing process, a discrepancy in a county list was discovered. An in-depth review was ordered by Secretary LaRose and as of early Friday evening additional discrepancies were discovered and resolved.
As a part of this in-depth review, the Franklin County Board of Elections informed the Secretary’s office that 1,128 Last Chance notices were mailed to registrations that were not subject to cancellation per state law. The Franklin County Board of Elections will send an additional mailing to those registrations to acknowledge the error and inform them that they are not at risk of registration cancellation.

The following statement is attributable to Spokesperson Maggie Sheehan:

“For the first time, the Secretary of State’s office is collecting inactive voter data from the counties that has allowed us to discover minor discrepancies. Thanks to our efforts, the Registration Reset List is up-to-date and we certainly hope every inactive voter on the list takes advantage of the opportunity to update their information and once again become a full participant in the democratic process. This situation is a reminder that the modernized, automated system of registration proposed by Secretary LaRose would eliminate these types of issues in the future. We hope this legislation is swiftly introduced, passed and signed into law.”

Background on Modernizing Ohio’s Voter Registration System:
Secretary LaRose has called on Ohio to embrace a modernized system that will make our voter rolls more accurate and secure.Instead of relying on voters to remember to update their information at their local board of elections or on the Secretary of State website, it would require state government to automate this process. A system that allows Ohioans to seamlessly update their registration information when they interact with state government will significantly improve the accuracy of Ohio’s voter rolls.

EXAMPLE: Presently, eligible voters are asked if they want to fill out a paper registration form when they visit their local BMV – oftentimes leading to improperly filled out forms or data-entry errors. With Voter Verification and Registration (VVR), the voter’s information will already be filled in and presented on a screen — making it easy to choose to register to vote or update the registration.

BACKGROUND: Both state and federal law require Ohio to maintain accurate voter rolls. The Registration Reset list is a first-of-its-kind feature of the voter list maintenance directive that required each county to send the Secretary’s office their list of registrations that have been inactive for six years, or at least 12 elections. While each registration will receive a Last Chance notice from their county board of elections regarding the process for maintaining their registrations’ active status, this new initiative partners with community organizations across Ohio to find and assist individuals who wish to continue their active registration status. The Registration Reset List is not required by law and is designed to serve as an additional resource to assist individuals in searching for inactive registrations. 


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Rob Nichols
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