COLUMBUS - Earlier this week, Ohio took an important step towards combating voter fraud in the state.
On Friday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced a new partnership with the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS) to obtain out-of-state death records. This partnership will allow the Secretary of State's office to maintain and update the Ohio's voter database more accurately.
"Working to make sure Ohio's voter rolls contain accurate and current information not only improves the administration of our elections, but also ensures the integrity of our system and helps to guard against the potential for voter fraud," Secretary Husted said in a press release.
Ohio will now receive information from NAPHSIS's State and Territorial Exchange of Vital Events (STEVE). STEVE is a multi-state initiative in which death records are shared among participating states. Ohio will get death records from STEVE, which may include data from Ohio residents who pass away in other states - something Ohio does not currently have access to as death records from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) only consist of those who died in Ohio.
The Secretary of State's office began receiving death records on May 15 and will continue to receive them on a monthly basis. Those records are then shared with county boards of elections in order to update their voter files, which combined, make up the statewide voter database.
"As our society has become increasingly mobile, being able to share and receive important information such as death records with other states through the network established by NAPHSIS will greatly assist in our efforts to maintain the voter rolls," Secretary Husted said.
To date, more than 19,000 deceased voters have been removed from Ohio's voter rolls since Husted took office. The Secretary of State's office is also encouraging county boards to conduct regular list maintenance and eliminate duplicative voter records to help combat voter fraud and keep more precise records.