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Ohio expands push to verify voter citizenship status

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(The Center Square) – Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose wants local elections boards to start removing non-citizens from the state’s voter registration rolls.

The directive comes after the Secretary of State’s Public Integrity Division and Office of Data Analytics and Archives recently completed a record review showing 137 voter registrations for people who have twice confirmed their non-citizen status.

“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.”

Under Ohio law, a person must twice submit documentation to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles showing they are not a United States citizen. The person must also have either registered to vote, updated a registration or voted in the state between those two instances of submitting documentation.

LaRose said the 137 non-citizen registrations received two written notices from the secretary of state’s office asking them to confirm their citizenship status or cancel their registration.

If they fail to respond, they will be removed from voter rolls.

“It’s important to recognize that some of these registrations may be the result of an honest mistake,” LaRose said. “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 said he’s also trying to verify the citizenship status of other registered voters whom the BMV has flagged as non-citizens.

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