Columbus, OH — Demos and other voting rights advocates filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio today urging the court to protect Ohio voters against unlawful purges on the eve of the presidential election. The Ohio GOP has asked the court to require mass purges of voters who have registered since January 1, 2008, if last-minute "matching" process shows any discrepancy between voter registration and motor vehicle records.
"Last-minute purges of the voter rolls are a recipe for disfranchisement and would violate the federally protected rights of thousands of Ohio voters to participate in the presidential election that is now only four weeks away," said Brenda Wright, Legal Director of Demos' Democracy Program. "We urge the court to reject this latest effort to drive down political participation and sow confusion on the eve of the election."
The groups and individuals who joined in today's filing also participated in the recent litigation that led to rulings by three state and federal courts upholding same-day registration during the first week of Ohio's early voting period, which ended yesterday.
The amicus brief filed today points out that wholesale purging of state voter rolls based on discrepancies between different government databases would violate the very statute on which the Ohio GOP's lawsuit is based, the Help America Vote Act, and would also violate the National Voter Registration Act which prohibits systemic purges within 90 days of a federal election.
Demos joined the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU of Ohio, the Voting Rights Project of the ACLU, Project Vote, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, 1Matters, and Ohio voters Sherie Penix and Daniel George in filing the amicus brief.