Oklahoma State Election Board removes over 115,000 duplicate and inactive voter registrations

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
Carter County voters line up to cast ballots on the first day of early voting for the 2020 presidential election Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. Last week the Oklahoma State Election Board completed its biennial voter list maintenance and removed over 4,000 duplicate voter registrations and nearly 111,000 inactive registrations from Oklahoma voter rolls. [Michael D. Smith/The Ardmoreite, File]

The Oklahoma State Election Board completed a voter list maintenance last Thursday that removed 4,034 duplicate registrations and 110,973 inactive voter registrations from the state’s voter rolls. The routine, statutorily-mandated maintenance is conducted every other year and typically takes place in the spring.

State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said the law mandating the maintenance process has been in place for over two decades and contains clear guidelines for which voter registrations need to be removed.

The duplicated registrations that were removed matched newer registrations by the same person at a new address. The inactive registrations deleted came from voters who did not confirm their address in 2017 and then had no voter activity through the 2020 General Election.

According to a Friday press release, address confirmation notices we’re sent out to some voters in 2017 because of one of a number of reasons determined by state law. These reasons include: voters who surrendered an Oklahoma driver license after being issued a new one in another state, voters who had a first-class mailing from the election board returned as “undeliverable” voters who were identified as a potential duplication of a voter registration from another county or state, or voters who had no voter activity from the 2014 General Election to the 2016 General Election.

The removal of inactive voters is defined by law and the process takes almost four years to complete. First the voter is sent an address confirmation mailing for one of seven reasons required by state law. Next the voter must confirm their address. If the voter does not confirm their address, the voter is designated “inactive.” Just because a voter status is labeled inactive, the voter is still registered and eligible to vote. The voter status immediately returns to active by voting or making changes to their voter registration. If an inactive voter does not confirm their address, the can only be removed from the voter rolls if there is no voter activity for two consecutive General Election cycles after becoming inactive.

In addition to the biennial voter list maintenance of inactive and duplicate voter rolls, county election boards also continually update their rolls by removing voters who are deceased, have registered in another state or county, or who are convicted of a felony.