In the News

The event supported what some experts are saying: that the sanctuary movement is growing nationally.

“It’s a very profound and active form of resistance that has really been sweeping the country,” said Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, senior counsel at Demos, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit group fighting for democracy. “It’s not only helping individual immigrants but raising awareness, and it’s a moral call as well as a legal call.”

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Six other states — Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — have similar practices that target voters for removal from the rolls for not voting, but Ohio’s is the most extreme.  

“The National Voting Rights Act sought to eliminate practices such as Ohio’s that penalize people who exercise their right not to vote,” Stuart Naifeh, senior counsel at the liberal think tank Demos, said in a call with reporters last week.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled in favor of Mr. Harmon in 2016, saying that Ohio had violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 by using the failure to vote as a “trigger” for sending the notices.

The D.C. Council unanimously backed publicly financed campaigns Tuesday, a move lauded by clean-government advocates in a city long plagued by its association with a pay-to-play culture.[...]

The case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, is a challenge to Ohio’s scheme for purging people who haven’t voted recently from the voter rolls, a scheme the state implemented under pressure from conservative legal activists, including one who later joined the Trump voter fraud commission. [...]

"None of these voters had become ineligible to vote by reason of a change in residence or otherwise," the voting rights group Demos, representing the A. Philip Randolph Institute, argued in court papers. "Nonetheless, all had been purged from the rolls." [...]

But Stuart Naifeh of Demos says about four in five voters who receive the notices don't send them back. “People don’t look at their mail all that closely,” he says.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide on a Trump-backed Ohio voting rights policy that has disenfranchised thousands of American voters by using lists to purge names of those who vote infrequently. The Trump administration filed a brief in support of the Ohio "use it or lose it" voting policy last year in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institutewhich will be heard in the nation's top court on Wednesday. [...]

The justices will hear arguments in Republican-governed Ohio’s appeal of a lower court ruling that blocked its policy of erasing from voter registration lists people who do not regularly cast a ballot. Under the policy, such registration is deleted if the person goes six years without either voting or contacting state voting officials.

But national voting rights and civil rights activists said the commission and Trump's call for new laws is just a pretext to suppress voter participation particularly among the poor, the elderly and people of color.

“I’m thrilled that the commission has been disbanded, but also will definitely keep an eye on what it is that these players will do in the next steps,” said Katherine Culliton-González, senior counsel for Demos, a public policy group.

"Countless Ohioans have been denied their right to vote as a result of these purges," said Stuart Naifeh, an attorney for Demos, which is among the organizations challenging Ohio's law. [...]