Cleanup of voters rolls ultimately a good thing

When Ohio experimented this year with releasing ahead of time the hundreds of thousands of names it intended to purge from voter rolls before the November election, organizations such as the League of Women Voters and other volunteer groups were asked, essentially, to double check the state’s work.

What they found was approximately 40,000 of the 235,000 names on the list should not have been there. Despite desperate squeals to the contrary by those intentionally failing to understand the situation, that is a good thing. Rather than criticize Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose for the mistake that could have been made, voting rights advocates should be thrilled someone in Columbus acknowledged for the first time this was a task too important to be trusted to government and the bureaucrats (you know, the ones responsible for so many mistakes in the data used to collect names for the list).

LaRose called it crowdsourcing when he handed out the spreadsheet that contained all names intended for the purge of voter rolls. He understood volunteers who cared about getting it right were a lot more likely to find errors than anyone in the capital. And LaRose cared about getting it right, too.

Yes, it is upsetting there were 40,000 names on the list that should not have been. Thank goodness LaRose chose to work with people who could find such a mistake.

Other states considering a purge of voter rolls should take a cue from Ohio. Andre Washington of the A. Philip Randolph Institute told the New York Times, that after witnessing the first time government was “willing to work with organizations like mine,” he hopes other states would follow Ohio’s lead.

This one is (or should be, anyway) a lesson for the bureaucracy, and officials who have been trained to believe they must rely on it.

If something is important enough to want it done right, look elsewhere.


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