The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio’s executive director spoke to a crowd of nearly 100 students, faculty and community members Tuesday about voter suppression in America and Ohio, as well as Ohio University’s controversial “Freedom of Expression” policy. J. Bennett Guess, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio, said during the talk at the Athena Cinema that Ohio Secretary of State John Husted has been engaged actively in purging people from the voter rolls in Ohio, an effort that Guess contends disproportionately impacts economically disadvantaged people of color (who typically vote Democratic).
Husted, a Republican, told the Columbus Dispatch in 2016 that the purge of voters his office performs is done in accordance with state and federal laws, and argued that those purged are “deceased voters” or “people who have moved out of state.” His office said it removed 465,000 deceased voters and 1.3 million “duplicate registrations.”
Guess, however, had a different perspective on the issue. “As we speak, the ACLU is challenging a shockingly wide-ranging practice in Ohio: the purge of perfectly eligible but infrequent voters… by removing people from the voting rolls so that they cannot vote,” he said.