Voter rolls get a good cleaning

The most recent purge of inactive voter registrations recently filtered down to all election board offices in Oklahoma like the one in Garvin County.

Both Secretary Gayla Dean and Assistant Secretary Holly Levis of the Garvin County Election Board have since then literally been removing registration cards as a way to update the voter rolls here.

“It's a clear out process basically that removes duplicate voters and inactive voter registrations,” Dean said.

“This keeps our voter registrations in order. We physically take their voter registration cards out of our file cabinet.”

Levis is sure to be spending some of her time working to use the state's list to remove the names of voters who are now deceased or just haven't filled out a ballot for some time.

“The state election board comes up with a list of names, and we'll pull them out of our central file cabinet. It's a file cabinet where we've got all our registrations for the whole county,” Levis said.

“When a voter doesn't vote for at least eight years or two presidential elections then they are considered inactive and their voter registrations are deleted. If they want to vote they'll have to register again.

“Some have been deceased for a while and for some they just haven't voted for a while.”

As an example, Levis pulls out one particular registration in Garvin County that's now considered inactive.

“This one is from 2014. It's been so long since he's voted his registration is being deleted.”

Both again remind voters all they have to do is register again to get their status up-to-date.

State election officials describe the process as routine as the recently completed one removed 4,034 duplicate voter registrations and 110,973 inactive voter registrations from all of Oklahoma’s voter rolls.

State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said the law mandating the current voter list maintenance process has been in place for decades and includes clear guidelines for which voter registrations must be removed.

“Oklahoma’s voter list maintenance process occurs every two years and has been conducted in essentially the same manner since the mid-1990s,” Ziriax said.

“Maintaining clean and updated voter rolls protects our democracy by making it far more difficult for someone to use outdated voter lists to attempt to commit fraud or disrupt our elections.

“Oklahomans should be wary of misinformation that is sometimes spread online and on social media about voter list maintenance. The fact is that voter list maintenance is not a new process. It is not partisan. It is a routine, necessary part of election administration, and it is required by law.”

Duplicate registrations that were deleted matched newer registrations by the same person at a new address.

Inactive registrations that were removed were for voters who failed to confirm their address in 2017 and then had no voter activity through the 2020 general election.

•••

Even more timely is the schedule of upcoming elections in Garvin County.

• The city of Lindsay will have a motel tax election on May 11.

• The city of Pauls Valley will have an Oklahoma Natural Gas franchise election on July 13.

• Two candidates for Garvin County District 1 commissioner – Republican Larry Chandler of Lindsay, now serving in an interim role, and Democrat Kevin Foraker of Maysville – are on the ballot for an election on Sept. 14.

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