By: Sarah Marshment
In Oklahoma, April 15 doesn’t just mean that it’s time to turn your taxes in: at least, not on odd years like 2019. In the spring of every odd year, Oklahoma does voter list maintenance. This last April, state election officials in Oklahoma removed 88,276 registered voters from the voting rolls. Although this purging is required by law, state election officials offer up an additional justification – voter fraud.
State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax stated that “[m]aintaining clean and updated voter rolls . . . . protects our democracy by making it far more difficult for someone to use outdated voter lists to attempt to commit fraud or disrupt our elections.” Given the rising levels of concern about the security of our elections, this is a powerful rationale to invoke. However, Mr. Ziriax himself also states that “voter fraud is exceptionally rare in Oklahoma and is not a major issue here.” Mr. Ziriax explains that “this is not a new process, it is not partisan, and no Oklahoma voter is ever removed simply for failing to vote.”