COLUMBUS — After weeks of disturbing news about Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s continued purging of Ohio voters — and revelations that thousands of Ohio voters were improperly targeted for removal — the Ohio Democratic Party is filing a complaint in the U.S. Southern District Court of Ohio seeking an immediate halt to LaRose’s purging of Ohio voters.
“What we’ve seen over the past few weeks is one revelation after another that the lists used to purge voters from Ohio’s rolls have been strewn with errors. Despite all of these mistakes the secretary of state is still planning to go through with his planned voter purge on Sept. 6, less than a week before a primary election set for Sept. 10,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper.
“It makes no sense to remove voters from the rolls four days before an election. And it makes even less sense to stubbornly move forward when so many errors in the list have been found by outside volunteers and journalists in recent days and weeks. Doing so places thousands of Ohio voters at risk of losing their ability to cast a ballot — through no fault of their own, simply because of bureaucratic bungling. We have been calling for weeks for LaRose to halt the purge and allow an outside entity to conduct a statewide audit of the entire process. Today we are taking the only step left: filing suit in federal court to stop the purge.”
In a news conference call Friday morning announcing the lawsuit, Pepper was joined by state Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney, a leading advocate for voters’ rights in the Statehouse.
“I applaud the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, the ACLU of Ohio, and Demos for fighting for the rights of Ohio voters and winning. We should absolutely count the ballot of every voter who is wrongfully purged, but that doesn’t mean we should keep on purging eligible Ohioans from the rolls,” said Sweeney. “Eligible voters shouldn’t have to go through extra hoops to have their ballots counted because of government mistakes. We know how many errors we have found, and they’ve all been found through different entities. This might be just the tip of the iceberg. No one really knows. We’re calling on the secretary of state to halt this purge.”
- In early August, there were errors revealed with the lists in Franklin, Henry, Huron and Mercer counties. In the case of Franklin County, more than 100 voters had already been mistakenly purged, and more than 1,000 were mistakenly on the list scheduled to be purged.
- In mid-August, a coalition of good government and voting rights groups informed the secretary of state’s office that there were more than 4,000 active voters on the purge list. They also found as many as 17,500 voters who had cast a ballot as recently as the 2018 general election.
- Several days later, the Ohio House Democratic Caucus informed the secretary of state’s office that they had found 6,500 voters wrongly set to be purged, just in Franklin, Cuyahoga, Summit and Lucas counties.
- And over this past weekend, thanks to reporting by the Columbus Dispatch, Secretary of State Frank LaRose acknowledged problems with a vendor that had mistakenly flagged more than 1,600 voters who had cast a ballot since 2016.