Tags: Ohio | voter | purge | unconstitutional

Ohio Voter Purge Is Unconstitutional, Federal Appeals Court Rules

Image: Ohio Voter Purge Is Unconstitutional, Federal Appeals Court Rules

A woman passes a large sign as she arrives to vote Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

By    |   Monday, 26 Sep 2016 08:44 AM

An Ohio voter purge was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court Friday just weeks before the presidential election, kicking the decision back to the lower court.

U.S. District Judge George C. Smith ruled this summer that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted could purge the voting rolls of voters if they had not participated in six years, ABC News reported. Husted said the practice was needed to keep the rolls up to date and to prevent fraud.

The purge affected more Democrats than Republicans in the battleground state's three largest counties, which include the cities of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Reuters reported in June, adding that the state had removed at least 144,000 voters from those counties.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ordered the lower court to come up with the remedy for the voter purge. Husted said in a statement that he has not decided on whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"With today's ruling, the court will effectively force us to put voters back on the voter rolls who have died or long since moved to another address," Husted said in a statement. "This ruling overturns 20 years of Ohio law and practice, which has been carried out by the last four secretaries of state, both Democrat and Republican. It also reverses a federal court settlement from just two years ago that required exactly the opposite action.

"It is one thing to strike down a longstanding procedure; it is another to craft a workable remedy. To that end, if the final resolution requires us to reinstate voting eligibility to individuals who have died or moved out of Ohio, we will appeal," Husted's statement continued.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said in a statement that the move was unconstitutional because the government sought to remove voters for just being inactive.

"We are very happy that the court found that Secretary Husted's process of purging voters in Ohio is illegal and must stop," Mike Brickner, senior policy director at the ACLU said in the statement. "We don't believe that any voters should be removed from the rolls simply because they haven't voted in a few elections.

"We hope that a plan will emerge soon to allow the tens of thousands of voters illegally purged from the rolls to vote in the upcoming presidential election. It is critical that both election officials and voters know the rules far in advance of November 8th," the ACLU statement continued.

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An Ohio voter purge was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court Friday just weeks before the presidential election, kicking the decision back to the lower court.
Ohio, voter, purge, unconstitutional
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2016-44-26
Monday, 26 Sep 2016 08:44 AM
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