Voting Rights Advocates: Take Charge of Your Vote
Verify Your Voter Status on National Voter Registration Day
Carrie Davis, League of Women Voters of Ohio, 614-469-1505
Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio, (w) 614-441-9145 or (c) 614-579-5509
Advocates marked National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday by launching an outreach campaign urging hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters to verify their registration status to ensure they can participate in the upcoming presidential election.
A coalition of advocacy groups, including the League of Women Voters of Ohio, Common Cause Ohio, the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, kicked off the Verify Your Vote campaign to encourage infrequent voters to check their registration status and re-register if necessary. Coalition members will make phone calls to more than 700,000 voters, knock on doors and send mailers to reach these voters before the Oct. 11 deadline to register to vote in Ohio.
A significant portion of Ohio voters may be unaware that they were removed from the voter registration rolls due to the state’s policy of purging voters who chose not to vote in the past few elections. On Friday, a federal appeals court ruled that Ohio’s practice of purging infrequent voters violates federal law, but the court has not said yet what is to happen to all the Ohio voters who may have been improperly purged. Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a statement threatening to appeal if the order to restore purged voters is too broad.
While the outcome of the case remains in legal limbo, the coalition is urging Ohioans to take a moment now to check their voter registration status online, especially if they haven’t voted in a few years.
“Hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters may believe they are registered but could be surprised when they show up to vote and are not on the list,” said Carrie Davis, executive director of the League of Women Votes of Ohio. “Regardless of what happens in the courts, voters have the power to make sure their voter registration is current. That’s why we are working to notify infrequent voters to verify that their registration is current so they can participate in the upcoming election regardless of what happens with the purge case.
State election officials have purged roughly 2 million voters from the registration rolls since the 2008 election, including 400,000 last year. While a small portion of those voters are deceased or moved out of state, many were removed simply because they haven’t voted in the last six years.
“The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition believes it is our duty to raise awareness of this issue so that legally registered voters are not turned away en masse at the polls on Election Day simply because they vote infrequently,” said Camille Wimbish, of the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition. “So take charge and verify your voter registration to make sure it’s still current before the Oct. 11 deadline, and then make a plan for how you want to vote – early in-person, by mail, or on Election Day.”
Voters can quickly check their registration status online at www.myohiovote.com or by calling your county Board of Elections.
“If voters have moved since they last voted, changed their names or if it has been awhile since they last voted, voters need to update their registration by Oct. 11, the day before the start of early voting,” said Catherine Turcer, of Common Cause Ohio. “If voters have problems or questions about voting, they can call the nonpartisan Election Protection Hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE.”
The Election Protection Hotline is administered by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Local partners including Common Cause Ohio, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, help answer Ohio voters’ questions during the early voting period and on Election Day.
While the General Assembly recently passed a bill creating online voter registration, the system will not be available until 2017. Therefore, voters who need to re-register can print out a voter registration form or obtain one from a public library and mail it to their local board of elections or the Ohio Secretary of State’s office before the Oct. 11 voter registration deadline.
Verify Your Vote Public Service Announcement on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xJIez7fzHko