Ohioans who have been purged from state voting rolls since 2011 will be allowed to cast ballots in the Tuesday special U.S. House election between Republican Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O'Connor.
Secretary of State Jon Husted instructed county boards of elections on Tuesday to count the votes of those purged for failing to vote during a six-year span and failing to respond to notices asking them to verify their status.
The directive was the result of a federal court order following mediation with plaintiffs who had challenged the purging of voters, according to Husted's memo to county election officials.
Ohio has purged no voters from its rolls since 2016 when a federal lawsuit was filed challenging the practice.
The action led to a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 11 upholding Husted's practice of purging voters as legal.
Husted told county officials in Franklin, Delaware, Licking, Marion, Morrow, Richland and Muskingum counties in the 12th district to count the ballots of purged voters after confirming they had lost their right to vote in 2011, 2013 or 2015.
Further details were being sought from Husted's office.
In a statement, state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, the party's candidate for secretary of state this fall said: "With this order, the voting rights of thousands of Ohio voters targeted by this administration will be restored. Like the 7,500 Ohioans who were able to have their ballots counted under this rule in 2016, voters in the upcoming special congressional election can rest assured that they, too, will have their voices heard. This is a major victory for Ohio voters who have said loud and clear ‘Stop the purge.’"
Even after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Husted's office said no voters would be purged this year because none can be removed within 90 days of a federal election. Tuesday's special election for Congress is followed by the Nov. 6 general election including all U.S. House seats and a U.S. Senate seat.
Husted's directive to count the votes of purged Ohioans also applies to elections on Tuesday on local issues in Carroll, Columbiana, Hamilton, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties.