21,000 Trumbull voters may be reinstated after court order

Tribune Chronicle / Raymond L. Smith Walk-in voting at Trumbull County Board of Elections are on pace as it was in 2012 and greater than it was in 2008.

Tribune Chronicle / Raymond L. Smith Walk-in voting at Trumbull County Board of Elections are on pace as it was in 2012 and greater than it was in 2008.

WARREN — More than 10,000 voters purged from the voting rolls last year because they had not cast ballots in the last two federal elections will be permitted to vote in November after all.

A federal court order last week impacts voters removed from registration lists since 2011 who still live in the same county where they previously signed up to vote.

In the past five years, 20,950 Trumbull County voters were purged from the rolls after each two-year election cycle. There were 3,434 voters purged in 2011, 6,706 voters in 2013, and 10,810 voters in 2015.

“Those that did not vote in the next election cycle were removed,” Trumbull County Board of Elections Director Stephanie N. Penrose said.

Voters were not told their names were being taken off their county lists. However, Board of Elections representatives attempted to contact people being removed, Penrose said.

The increasing number of voters erased from rolls could have been caused by a number of reasons, she said.

“There were a high number of people that registered to vote in the 2008 presidential election, but some decided not to vote in the years afterward,” she said. “There was an incumbent running in 2012, so there was not as much excitement, and some people simply did not vote.”

The order issued Wednesday by U.S. District Judge George Smith indicates that previously registered voters wanting to participate in this election will be able to vote on provisional ballots. Voting provisionally will give registrars time to find out why registrations were removed.

Board of elections offices across the state will have 10 days after the completion of the Nov. 8 general election to validate provisional ballots.

“The votes will be counted,” Penrose said. “We do not know what affect this will have on this year’s election. We will not know until after the election and all of the provisional ballots are counted.”

Trumbull County Republican Party Chairman Randy Law said he does not have a problem with the court’s decision.

” I don’t know what effect this decision will have on the election,” Law said. “I don’t know anyone who was purged. As long as they were registered to vote, I don’t have a problem.”

Early voting applications are ahead of pace this year.

“As of Thursday, we’ve sent out more than 19,000 early voting forms,” Penrose said. In the 2012 presidential election year, Trumbull County Board of Elections sent a total of 18,554 early voting forms, she said.

While early voting numbers are up from previous elections, Penrose said the number of people who registered to vote has not significantly increased over previous presidential election years.

“I was expecting many more voter applications this year,” Penrose said. “In 2008, there were organizations, groups and churches that worked to bring in new voters. We are not seeing the same kind of energy this year.”

During the 2008 general election, Trumbull had a 73 percent turnout of registered voters. There was a 67 percent turnout in 2012.

“I am prepared for a turnout closer to the 2008 levels,” Penrose said.

Penrose said the number of people walking into Trumbull County Board of Elections to vote so far has been comparable this year to the 2012 presidential election.

“We’ve had significantly more walk-ins so far this year than in 2008,” she said.

rsmith@tribtoday.com

Deadlines

• Last day for walk-in voting in Trumbull County will be 2 p.m. Nov. 7.

• The last absentee voter forms from the Trumbull County Board of Elections will be mailed out at noon Nov. 5.

• The Trumbull County Board of Elections office will be open the last two weekends before the election. The office will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Nov. 5 and 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 30 and Nov. 6.

• The office will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.

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