In the News

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. [...]

“The use of the immigration databases are inaccurate, discriminatory and inappropriate for voter list maintenance. We know that it results in inaccurate purging of eligible voters,” said Katherine Culliton-González, a lawyer at think tank Demos who represented plaintiffs challenging Florida’s method of striking people from the rolls.

"The right to vote is so fundamental that Congress wanted to make sure people can continue to exercise it even if they don’t exercise it in every election," said Stuart Naifeh, a lawyer at Demos, the advocacy group that represents Harmon, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. "People have the right not to vote as well as the right to vote."