The State Election Board completed its statutorily-mandated, biennial voter list maintenance on Monday, April 15. The process removed 3,030 duplicate voter registrations and 88,276 inactive voter registrations from Oklahoma's voter rolls.
The removal of inactive and duplicate voter registrations is a mostly automated, multi-step process the State Election Board is required by law to conduct every two years, generally occurring in the spring.
State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax (pronounced ZEER-icks) said the law that mandates 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 is nothing new. The current process is required by a 25-year-old law and has been conducted in essentially the same manner since the mid-1990’s,” Ziriax said. “Maintaining clean and updated voter rolls isn't just required by law, it also protects our democracy by making it far more difficult for someone to use outdated voter lists to attempt to commit fraud or disrupt our elections."
Duplicate registrations that were deleted matched newer registrations by the same person at a new address.
Inactive registrations that were removed were voters who failed to confirm their address in 2015 and then had no voter activity through the 2018 General Election. (The 2015 Address Confirmation Notices were sent to voters for one of several different reasons required by law, including those who surrendered an Oklahoma driver license in another state, or had a first-class mailing from the Election Board returned as “undeliverable,” or who were potentially a duplicate of a voter registration in another county or state, or who had no voter activity from the 2012 General Election through the 2014 General Election.)
Ziriax cautioned Oklahomans about misinformation regarding the voter list maintenance process that removes inactive voter registrations.
"Oklahomans should be wary about what they read online or on social media about voter list maintenance. The fact is this is not a new process, it is not partisan, and no Oklahoma voter is ever removed simply for failing to vote,” he said.
The removal of inactive voters is a clearly defined and lengthy process.
First, a voter is sent an address confirmation mailing for one of seven reasons required by law.
Next, the voter must confirm their address. If the voter fails to confirm their address, then the voter is designated “inactive.” (An “inactive” voter is still a registered voter and is still eligible to vote. A voter is returned to “active” status automatically by voting or by making changes to their voter registration.)
Finally, a voter who is designated as “inactive” for failing to confirm their address can only be removed from the voter rolls if there is no voter activity for two consecutive General Election cycles after being inactivated.
In addition to the biennial voter list maintenance of inactive and duplicate voter registrations, county election boards continually update the voter rolls by removing voters who are deceased, have registered in another state or county, or who are convicted of a felony.
Voters can learn more about voter registration at: http://elections.ok.gov or by contacting their County Election Board.
To learn more about the address confirmation process in Oklahoma, see 26 O.S. § 4-120.2.