Brief of the League of Women Voters of the US, League of Women Voters of Ohio, and the Brennan Center for Justice Amici Curiae in Support of Respondents

Brief of the League of Women Voters of the US, League of Women Voters of Ohio, and the Brennan Center for Justice Amici Curiae in Support of Respondents

September 22, 2017
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SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

The purge provisions contained in Section 8 of the NVRA are designed to prevent states from instituting practices to remove registered voters from the rolls based on unreasonable inferences that the voter has become ineligible. The NVRA requires states to make “a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters,” and bars states from taking unreasonable steps to remove voters from the rolls, such as removing individuals for non-voting or removing voters based on an unsubstantiated belief that the voter has moved. The legislative history and the NVRA’s text confirms Congress sought to protect voters against having to needlessly re-register because of purges based on unreasonable inferences. See Part I.

Ohio’s Supplemental Process of commencing a purge based on the failure to vote in a single federal election cycle is not reasonable. It is wildly overbroad and does not target individuals who may no longer be eligible. In this case, Ohio began the first step in purging over half its registered voters—by sending notices to some four million people—after they failed to vote in a single federal election cycle in 2010. Ohio compounded the unreasonableness of its action by not clearly informing these voters that they would be removed from the voter rolls if they did not act in response to the notice. And Ohio stands alone: it is one of only six states that expressly commences deregistration based on the failure to vote. Yet Ohio is the only state that commences such a process based on the failure to vote in a single federal election cycle. Section 8 of the NVRA was designed to prevent such practices. 

 

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