Published: Tue, May 30, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Justices will hear Ohio appeal over purging voter rolls

Justices will hear Ohio appeal over purging voter rolls

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider giving states more freedom to rid their voter rolls of people who haven't cast ballots in a while. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled a year ago that the process violates the National Voter Registration Act. In September 2016, ahead of the U.S. presidential election, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled that the policy was unlawful. In September 2016, the Sixth Circuit found that the Supplemental Process violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) by removing voters from the voter registration rolls merely due to their failure to vote. As PBS's Chris Bury once put it, "When it comes to the right to vote, OH is a "use it or lose it" state". He said the state's practices ensure the integrity of Ohio's voter rolls. "I remain confident that once the Justices review this case they will rule to uphold the decades-old process that both Republicans and Democrats have used in OH to maintain our voter rolls as consistent with federal law".

"Under the process, "voter activity" includes "filing a change of address" with a designated state agency; 'filing a voter registration card with the Board of Elections. casting an absentee ballot; casting a provisional ballot; or voting on election day'".

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide whether OH wrongfully purged eligible voters from the state's registration list.

The court will hear arguments and rule in the nine-month term that starts in October. The court will likely issue a decision in the case next year.

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ACLU of Ohio Legal Director Freda Levenson said the state's policy "served as a powerful mechanism of voter suppression", and she's sure the Supreme Court will uphold the lower court's decision.

The justices agreed Tuesday to take the case, known as Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute.

"We are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the correct decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and will ultimately ensure that eligible OH voters may not be stricken from the rolls", she said. NEOCH works hard to bring these voters into the electoral process, but unfortunately, the state of OH has used the Supplemental Process to illegally shut many of them out again.

"The Supreme Court must ensure that this injustice is corrected", said the statement from the organization's executive director, Brian Davis.

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