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Government and Politics

National group urges Ohio to purge voter list

Plans to file a lawsuit in Ohio.
This story is part of a special series.

Jo Ingles

A national group that’s pushed to purge voter rolls in other states wants to do the same in Ohio. And as Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, the group says it plans to file a court suit to make sure that happens before the November election.

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The President of a group called Judicial Watch says Ohio has a big problem that could affect the integrity of the vote in November.  Tom Fitton says the state’s voter rolls need to be purged before then.

“Federal law requires that state take reasonable efforts to maintain accurate voter rolls,” Fitton says.  “And our analysis of Ohio shows that evidently is not being done.  Several counties have over 100% of their eligible population on the rolls.  Many others have near 100% which shows us the basic steps to clean up the rolls are not being done.  We’ve warned the Secretary of State about this and made him aware about it and haven’t gotten an adequate response so True the Vote and Judicial Watch are planning to file a lawsuit to help insure clean election rolls on election day.”

Fitton’s group has been part of the True the Vote effort that’s backed purging of voter rolls in some other states.  He says there are likely many illegal immigrants on the voter rolls….but that’s not all.

“The easiest thing is to start removing dead people from the voter rolls,” Fitton says. “When you get over 100%, that’s a sign that even dead people aren’t being removed.”

Chris Redfern, who heads the Ohio Democratic Party, disagrees.

“Why? Because dead people will show up at the polls?” Redfern says.

Redfern says there have been less than a dozen prosecuted cases of voter fraud in Ohio during the past 10 years.  And Redfern says Fitton’s group is just trying to disenfranchise voters.

“With all due respect for these outside thug groups, when they are unapologetic at their attempts to disenfranchise the voters, when they don’t retreat from statements like the ones that have been attributed to organizations like True the Vote, when they say they want Ohioans to feel like they are ‘driving and seeing the police watching them when they are casting their ballot.’ That kind of intimidation was commonplace 45 or 50 years ago in the south.  We don’t need the kind of antics that have been long ago been pushed away to live another day in Ohio.

Fitton’s group held a summit over the weekend in Columbus to talk about plans to purge the voter rolls. More than 100 people attended.  The lawsuit is expected to be filed in the coming days.  A federal judge recently ruled Florida could continue to purge voters from its rolls.  The U.S. Justice Department is appealing that case to stop the practice.

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