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Over 100 ‘non-citizens’ registered to vote in Midwest state

Ohio elections officials have been directed by Secretary of State Jon Husted to resume purging voting rolls of inactive voters after a moratorium of several months. (Lisa DeJong/
May 15, 2024

Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose directed the state’s county boards of elections on Tuesday to begin the process of removing non-citizens from Ohio’s voter rolls. The order came after the state discovered that 137 non-citizens were registered to vote in the November election.

According to a Tuesday press release, an investigation by the Ohio Public Integrity Division based on data provided by Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles discovered 137 non-citizens were registered on the state’s voter rolls despite confirming twice that they were not citizens of the United States.

“Ohioans overwhelmingly passed an amendment to our state constitution which makes it clear that only U.S. citizens can vote in our elections,” LaRose said. “It is my duty under the law to uphold the constitution, and the legislature has explicitly tasked me with ensuring that only eligible citizens can register and vote.”

The Ohio secretary of state’s office explained that state law requires individuals to confirm they are not U.S. citizens to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on two different occasions and to have either voted or updated their voter registration in between the two instances in order to be removed from the state’s voter rolls.

LaRose’s office noted that the 137 non-citizens will be given at least two written notices from the office to either cancel their voter registration or confirm their citizenship status. If the individuals do not respond to the notices, the non-citizens will be removed from the voter registration rolls by the county boards of elections.

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“It’s important to recognize that some of these registrations may be the result of an honest mistake,” LaRose stated. “These may be well-meaning people trying to pursue the American dream, and communication barriers sometimes result in a registration form being submitted in error. We need to help them get that cleared up before an accidental registration becomes an illegal vote that could result in a felony conviction or even deportation.”

LaRose also announced that his office will be verifying the citizenship status of additional individuals who were flagged by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles as non-citizens. The press release explained that some of the records provided to the secretary of state’s office by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles requires cross-referencing with federal databases.

To confirm the citizenship status of other individuals on the state’s voter rolls, LaRose urged President Joe Biden’s administration to grant the state access to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ SAVE database, to provide access to information from the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, and to provide federal district court records that show individuals who are disqualified from jury service due to their status as a non-citizen.