Should voting sporadically in past elections be grounds to remove a voter from the election rolls? This is the issue being fought out in Ohio, the crucial swing state where a federal court recently upheld the controversial purging of scores of thousands of voters from the rolls for failing to participate in three consecutive federal elections. Updating voter rolls for accuracy, change of address and death is a routine task carried out by elections officials everywhere, but only a few states remove voters for reasons of inactivity. Ohio’s purge prompted a lawsuit by civil liberties groups accusing the Republican-controlled state government of engaging in suppression of minority and poor voters who tended to favor Democratic candidates. But last month, a federal district judge found that the policy of the Ohio secretary of state, Jon Husted, of purging a voter after six years of inactivity and failure to reply to a state warning did not violate “the integrity of the election process.” An appeal is being considered.
In a survey of voters struck from the rolls in the state’s three largest counties, which take in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, those in Democratic neighborhoods were removed at roughly twice the rate as those in Republican neighborhoods, according to a Reuters report.
At least 144,000 voters were removed in those three counties, according to the report, with an unknown number in the state’s 85 other counties. This is a scale of lost voters that could tip the presidential election, the first since the Supreme Court decision in 2013 that eviscerated enforcement of the federal Voting Rights Act.
Full Article: The Purge of Ohio’s Infrequent Voters – The New York Times.