U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown joined critics of Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s process for purging inactive voters from the state’s rolls today in filing briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court. Brown, a Democrat who held Husted’s job from 1983 to 1991 and worked in Congress to pass the National Voter Registration Act, argued that Husted’s procedure for voiding registrations of people who haven’t voted in several years “would wrongly cancel the registrations of thousands of eligible Ohio voters.” “Citizens have the right not to vote for any reason, and states cannot penalize them for doing so by canceling their registrations,” Brown’s legal brief said. “Ohio’s Supplemental Program does exactly that because it uses registered voters’ failure to vote as the trigger to subject them to the change-of-residence confirmation process.”
The case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear on Nov. 8 challenges Ohio’s method of purging ineligible voters. The process is triggered by not voting during a two-year period. Registration is canceled if the voter does not cast a ballot during the subsequent four years or update his or her address. Repeated notices are sent to voters whose registration has been flagged.
On Monday, Brown joined dozens of organizations including Common Cause, the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, and the League of Women Voters in filing briefs to oppose Husted’s procedure for culling ineligible voters from the rolls.
Twenty-seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus including Warrensville Heights Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge filed a brief that said the Sixth Circuit court of appeals correctly interpreted federal laws when it rejected Ohio’s process for removing non-voters.