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Oklahoma starting its biannual move to purge voting lists

Thousands of Oklahomans will be purged from the voter rolls this month under a state law permitting government officials to remove people who haven't voted in several years and don't respond to address confirmation mailings.

The last such purge, in April 2017, deleted 13 percent of the people then registered – more than 291,000 out of 2.2 million, according to records Oklahoma Watch obtained from the state Election Board. Of that amount, more than half were deleted due to inactivity. Of those, 46 percent were Democrats although members of that party make up 39 percent of registered voters.

Six other states give similar power to election officials to cull the rolls of inactive voters. Oklahoma drops people who haven't voted in eight years and don't answer several mailings from the state. The biggest states with such "use it or lose it" rules, Ohio and Georgia, allow election officials to purge voters after a six-year period of inactivity.

The House's comprehensive political process overhaul, HR 1, would restrict states from pursuing such policies. But last year the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that Ohio's law did not violate the Voting Right Act.

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