Three months after they lost a U.S. Supreme Court challenge to Ohio’s process for removing inactive voters from its rolls, the lawsuit’s plaintiffs are back in federal court with a related claim: the notification forms Ohio used to initiate voter removal are illegal. The plaintiffs say all voters the state deleted from the rolls from 1995 through 2016 through the disputed process upheld by the Supreme Court were actually removed unlawfully because the state’s notices for removal didn’t comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. On Sept. 14, the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and Larry Harmon asked U.S. District Judge George C. Smith to reinstate all eligible voters who were sent the deficient notices, or take other measures to protect their voting rights in next month’s election.
“Countless Ohio voters who have been–or will be–unlawfully removed from the registration rolls will be at risk of being disenfranchised either this November or in future elections,” the plaintiffs said in legal papers. “Intervention by this Court is therefore necessary to preserve for Ohio residents their fundamental right, as citizens of the United States and the State of Ohio, to meaningfully participate in the democratic process.”
Attorneys for Ohio’s top election official, Secretary of State Jon Husted, disputed the organizations’ “novel and newly-alleged legal claims,” and asked the judge to reject them.