“This unlawful practice must stop, and it must stop now.”
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has made it his mission and principal agenda to weed out alleged voter fraud since assuming office in 2011, despite repeated findings showing this to be a non-issue (a maximum of just forty-four non-citizens possibly voted illegally in the state since 2000). His efforts last year found that an additional 145 non-citizens were registered to vote illegally in 2014, amounting to a whopping .0002 per
Given this state-wide epidemic of fraudulent vote snatching, Husted’s dedicated effort to weed out the microscopic traces of voter fraud includes an initiative called “Supplemental Process” which stipulates that Ohioans who do not vote in three consecutive federal elections automatically have their registrations cancelled.
As a result, in 2015 that meant roughly 40,000 people living in Ohio’s largest county – largely low-income and minority voters – were disenfranchised, part of a larger figure that includes roughly two million people over the past five years.
On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against Husted and Ohio, alleging that the massive purge of Ohio’s voter rolls is in direct violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which stipulates specifically that voters can only be removed from the rolls if they request, die, and move out of state. It additionally stipulates that when purges are conducted, they must be geographically nondiscriminatory, so as to minimize the impacts of targeting specific socioeconomic, racial, or ethnic demographics.
“We have spoken to purged voters from around the state of Ohio who tried to vote in the November 2015 local election and were turned away,” Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU og Ohio said in a statement, “The already widespread disenfranchisement that has resulted from this process is likely to be much worse in a presidential election year.”
As ACLU attorneys allege, this voter purging process is not only illegal, but additionally unnecessary as the state already uses the Postal Service’s information to keep its rolls’ accuracy. They argue it is a backhanded attempt to marginalize voters who would otherwise not support Husted and the incumbent Kasich administration.
Ohio is often considered one of the most critical battleground states in national elections.
Husted, who also serves as Ohio’s election director, has already been targeted this primary cycle with legal action over his attempts to marginalize voter turnout. In early March, Bernie Sanders’ campaign filed suit and successfully won against Husted, contending that his decision to bar 17 year olds from voting in the primary who will turn 18 before Election Day was an “unconstitutional attempt to block young voters from casting ballots.”