ACRU: Ohio Has Right to Remove Inactive Voters

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 7, 2017) —- The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong to strike down Ohio’s voter roll cleanup policy, a brief filed at the U.S. Supreme Court today by the American Civil Rights Union argues.

Since 2013, the ACRU has submitted amicus briefs and sued counties in an effort to keep official voter registration rolls accurate and up to date. The ACRU is the only private organization to sue successfully to secure consent agreements for counties to clean up their rolls.

Although the appeals court accused the Secretary of state of Ohio of violating the National Voter Registration Act’s prohibition of removing people from voter rolls “solely” because they did not vote in recent elections, this is an inaccurate assessment, the brief notes:

“Ohio does not remove any voter ‘solely’ by reason of a failure to vote. Rather, a voter is removed only if she fails to respond to an address confirmation mailing and then fails to engage in any voting activity for an additional four years —- a procedure explicitly authorized by Congress under the NVRA relied on address confirmation mailings.”

In the brief submitted in Husted v. J. Philip Randolph Institute, et al., the ACRU reminds the court that, “the Constitution’s Qualification’s Clause gives the power to set voter qualifications to the States, exclusively. The power to set voter qualifications includes the power to enforce them.”

Filed on ACRU’s behalf by J. Christian Adams and Kaylan L. Philips of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, the brief also notes that the Help America Vote Act, enacted in 2002, “clarified these list maintenance procedures:

“[C]onsistent with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 . . . , registrants who have not responded to a notice and who have not voted in 2 consecutive general elections for Federal office shall be removed from the official list of eligible voters, except that no registrant may be removed solely by reason of a failure to vote.”

Read brief. (PDF 108k)

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