State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax comments on removing inactive voters
Published: April 8th, 2019
Oklahoma City – Due to questions generated by a recent news article, State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax provided the following statement regarding the State of Oklahoma’s process for removing inactive voters:
“A 25-year-old Oklahoma law, 26 O.S. § 4-120.2, requires the removal of certain inactive voters from voter rolls in the Spring of every odd-numbered year. This is a multi-step process that is mostly automated. It has been conducted in a similar manner for nearly a quarter century.
“No Oklahoma voter is removed simply for failure to vote. In order to be removed, a voter who is sent an address confirmation mailing for one of seven reasons required by law, and who then does not confirm their address, is designated as “inactive.” Once being designated inactive for failing to confirm their address, that voter is required by law to be removed from the voter rolls if there is no voter activity for two consecutive General Election cycles.
“There are many other reasons that voters are removed from the voter rolls, such as those who move to another state or county, are deceased, or who are convicted of a felony. Maintaining clean and updated voter rolls isn’t just required by law, it also protects our democracy by making it far more difficult for a criminal or foreign adversary to commit voter fraud or disrupt our elections.”
Ziriax said a full description of the process for removing inactive voters is found in State Statutes, 26 O.S. § 4-120.2. He provided the following summary of how the removal process works:
1 – Prior to June 1 of each odd-numbered year, the State Election Board is required to send a mailing to certain voters to confirm their voter registration address.
2 – State law lists seven reasons a voter must be sent an address confirmation mailing. These include voters who surrendered an Oklahoma driver license in another state, or who appear to be a potential duplicate with a voter in another county or state, or who were sent a first-class mailing by the Election Board that was undeliverable, or who have no voter activity for two consecutive General Election cycles.
3 – If an address confirmation mailing comes back undeliverable or if the voter does not respond to it, then that voter is designated “inactive.” (No voter is deleted at this step of the process.)
4 – An “inactive” voter is still a registered voter. Inactive voters who vote in any election or update their voter registration automatically return to “active” status.
5 – If an inactive voter has no voter activity (such as voting or updating a voter registration) for two consecutive General Election cycles, then state law requires that voter to be removed.
To learn more about elections in Oklahoma, visit https://elections.ok.gov.