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Ohio’s voter registration purge targeted thousands in error. Now, a call for change.

Ohio’s voter registration purge targeted thousands in error. Now, a call for change.

by Rick Rouan, The Columbus Dispatch and Doug Caruso, USA TODAY Network  |  Published on January 23, 2020

ASHLAND, Ohio — A week before Election Day 2016, Bill Gedraitis drove into town to cast an early vote that helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency.

A little more than two years later, Gedraitis’ name disappeared from the rolls, a victim of the state’s 2019 voter purges that removed more than 460,000 registrations, many of them for inactivity.

But Gedraitis wasn’t an inactive voter. His name was among thousands erroneously targeted for removal last year under a fractured system in which each of Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections handles its own voter-registration records. It’s a system that the state’s elections chief called “antiquated and inefficient.”

It’s time to reform that system, Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in a recent interview in which reporters for the USA TODAY Network and The Columbus Dispatch presented their most recent findings in an ongoing investigation of Ohio’s 2019 purges. He said he wants to bring it under state control and restore trust in the process.

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