Justice Department Supports Ohio’s Rules for Purging Voter Rolls

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By Andrea Noble
The Washington Times
(August 8, 2017)

The Justice Department reversed course this week to support Ohio’s efforts to purge its voter rolls, backing the state’s disputed practices in a high-profile case set to be heard this fall by the Supreme Court.

Department lawyers said in a brief filed with the court that since President Trump took office they’ve reevaluated the case and concluded the National Voter Registration Act does not prohibit rules like those used in Ohio to remove thousands of voters from the state’s voting rolls after the state deemed them “inactive.”

Ohio has been sending notices to voters who didn’t cast ballots during a two-year period to inquire whether they had moved, died or otherwise become ineligible to vote. If those registered voters did not respond to the notices or failed to cast a ballot over the next four years, they could be removed from the state’s voter rolls.

Voting-rights advocates said the National Voter Registration Act, a 1993 federal law usually dubbed “Motor-Voter,” doesn’t allow states to strip out infrequent voters without more proof.

The Trump Justice Department acknowledged the law, but said it still allows some flexibility and Ohio is within the rules.

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