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A Win for Ohio Voters for the 2018 Midterms

Chiraag Bains

Free, fair, and accessible elections are the foundation of a healthy democracy. We should be a country that expands access to the ballot and encourages full participation. Instead, in the lead-up to the midterms, we’ve seen some politicians do just the opposite—pushing programs and tactics that strategically exclude individuals, attempting to turn voting into a privilege of the few rather than a right of the many.

We at Demos refuse to accept these affronts to democracy. We continue to fight back.

On Wednesday, we secured another win for voters in our Ohio voter purge case, A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) v. Husted. Voters who were removed from the voter rolls in Ohio without adequate notice will now be able to participate in Tuesday’s midterms.

As a refresher, our Husted case began in 2016. It centers on Ohio’s practice of removing voters from the registration rolls if they have not voted in recent years—essentially treating voting as a use-it-or-lose-it right. Although the Supreme Court narrowly approved Ohio targeting people for removal based on their having not voted in past elections, the case returned to the lower courts because we also had a second claim: that Ohio wasn’t giving voters proper notice that they would be purged if they didn’t take certain steps. 

All told, our work in Husted has protected Ohio voters in every election since it began. In 2016, we secured their right to vote in the presidential election. This August, we ensured that wrongfully purged Ohioans would be able to vote in the state’s special House election. And Wednesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted our emergency motion for an injunction to protect these voters in next week’s midterms.

As a result of the court’s order, purged voters who show up to vote in the November 2018 general election can vote by provisional ballot, and that ballot will count.

The case isn’t over yet. After the election, the appeals court will determine whether purged voters will be protected in future elections and whether we can stop Ohio from purging thousands of additional voters. We’re here to stand on the side of empowering voters.

Thank you for standing with us.