Press release

Ohio Must Remove Barriers to Voting, Naila Awan, Senior Counsel at Demos Declares During Testimony

Demos is currently engaged in litigation to protect Ohio voters who have been unlawfully purged and to increase access to voting in Ohio jails.

Statement to be attributed to Naila Awan, Senior Counsel, Demos

Voting is a fundamental democratic right. Anyone who wants to vote should be able to cast a ballot. This is not the case in Ohio.

In the Buckeye State, voters who haven’t gone to the polls in two years are aggressively targeted to be purged from the voter rolls. People who want to cast a ballot in Ohio have to overcome significant hurdles, including transportation issues, scheduling or work conflicts, and inconvenient polling locations. People who are sick or have a disability are also less likely to cast a ballot in the state. All of these contribute to the great likelihood that a voter will be unfairly targeted and ultimately removed from registration rolls.

In addition to the problems that occur at polling locations, Ohio also limits access to absentee ballots. For example, under Ohio law, registered voters who are arrested and held in Ohio jails after the absentee ballot request deadline, and who are detained through Election Day, are prevented from obtaining and casting an absentee ballot. This significantly reduces the ability of thousands of voters to participate in the democratic process.

Ohio ranks 44th in voter access because of these and other barriers. Demos is currently engaged in litigation to protect Ohio voters who have been unlawfully purged and to increase access to voting in Ohio jails. We will continue to fight for voters in Ohio who have unlawfully had their voices silenced.

*Ohio sends a notice to voters who have not voted in two years, and then removes them from the voter rolls if they do not respond to the notice or vote in the subsequent four-year period—a procedure known as the Supplemental Process. In Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s controversial law 5-4 against a challenge under the National Voter Registration Act led by Demos.

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Demos is a dynamic think-and-do tank that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy. Through cutting-edge policy research, inspiring litigation, and deep relationships with grassroots organizations, Demos champions solutions that will create a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity.