A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday is suing Ohio Secretary of State over how state officials remove inactive voters from the rolls. The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio on behalf of Ohio A. Phillip Randolph Institute and Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, argues people are removed from Ohio voter rolls in violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also called the “Motor Voter” law. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said the state manages its voter rolls in compliance with both federal and state laws and has been complying a 2012 settlement requiring voter rolls to be scrutinized and maintained. “This lawsuit is politically motivated, election-year politics, is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and opens the door for voter fraud in Ohio,” Husted said in a statement.
The federal Motor Voter law prohibits states from removing voters for failing to vote. But it also allows states to establish a supplemental process for removing voters who have moved without updating their addresses.
In Ohio, the secretary of state’s office sends a notice to registered voters who don’t vote in elections for a period of time, generally two years, or change their address through the U.S. Postal Service asking them to confirm their registration.
If the voter does not respond to the notice or update voter registration information and does not vote or sign a petition within four years, the secretary of state can cancel the voter’s registration.