Brief of Amicus Curiae of Senator Sherrod Brown in Support of Respondents and for Affirmance

Brief of Amicus Curiae of Senator Sherrod Brown in Support of Respondents and for Affirmance

September 22, 2017


There is no greater symbol of our democracy than our citizens’ right to vote. The NVRA protects this fundamental right through two provisions that Ohio’s Supplemental Process violates. First, the NVRA ensures that, once a citizen has properly registered to vote, a state cannot remove that person’s name from the voting rolls unless he or she has become ineligible. More specifically, before deleting someone’s name from the rolls by reason of a change of residence, a state must have reliable evidence that the voter has moved, and then confirm that he or she has moved through a process that the NVRA sets forth. Ohio’s Supplemental Process subjects voters to this confirmation process without any reliable evidence that they have moved, and, if permitted, would wrongly cancel the registrations of thousands of eligible Ohio voters.

Second, the NVRA prohibits states from carrying out any program or activity that has the effect or outcome of removing voters from the rolls by reason of their failure to vote. Citizens have the right not to vote for any reason, and states cannot penalize them for doing so by canceling their registrations. Ohio’s Supplemental Program does exactly that because it uses registered voters’ failure to vote as the trigger to subject them to the change-of-residence confirmation process.

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA)3 confirms that Ohio’s Supplemental Process violates the NVRA. It reiterates that states must ensure that voters remain on the voting rolls unless they become ineligible, and that states cannot use the NVRA’s change-of-residence confirmation process in a way that results in striking voters’ names from the rolls for failure to vote. 


3 52 U.S.C. §§ 20901–21145 (formerly 42 U.S.C. §§ 15301– 15545).