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275,000 Inactive Ohio Voters To Receive 'Purge' Warnings

Updated: 3:18 p.m.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced that more than 275,000 notices of so-called "last-chance" mailings are being sent to voters by county boards across the state, part of what a release called "list maintenance processes" to keep voter records up-to-date.

That affects about 3 percent of voters in Hamilton County, says Sally Krisel, deputy director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, adding that there are many "safety nets" in place to make sure voters don't mistakenly get removed. 

"We're hoping people respond (to these notices)," she says, "but the other safety net is if any activity is happening at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, where you can also update your voter information. Additionally, actions like signing a petition or requesting an absentee ballot - even if you don't use it - will keep your status 'active.'" 

Still, if you are concerned, Krisel recommends visiting the Board of Elections website or calling staff at 513-632-7000 for assistance. 

The mailings were first announced in July 2018, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a month prior that Ohio is in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act with its process of flagging voters who don't vote in two general elections. After four years, voters could see their registration canceled if they don't respond to confirmation notices. The procedure is considered one of the strictest in the nation. 

"From online voter registration to these last-chance mailings, every innovative reform implemented by my office over the last eight years has been done to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat," Husted said in a release. "We want every eligible Ohioan to be an engaged, active participant in our elections." 

A spokesman tells AP that those who respond to the last chance mailings will remain registered, and that those who drop off can re-register online. Voters in any of Ohio's 88 counties can check their current status at MyOhioVote.com

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.