Dear Secretary LaRose:
The League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, and their counsel the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Demos write to inform you that Directive 2020-06, issued on March 16, 2020, violates Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (52 U.S.C. § 20507(a)) (“NVRA”) because it fails to extend the voter registration deadline to 30 days prior to the new presidential primary election date in order to allow eligible Ohioans to register to vote. If the date of the primary remains June 2, 2020, as set forth in Directive 2020-06, federal law requires that voters be permitted to register to vote in that election through and including May 3, 2020.
The Directive also violates Article V, Section 1 of the Ohio Constitution, which provides that “[e]very citizen of the United States, of the age of eighteen years, who has been a resident of the state, county, township, or ward, such time as may be provided by law, and has been registered to vote for thirty days, has the qualifications of an elector, and is entitled to vote at all elections...” Ohio Const. Art. V, Sec. I (emphasis added).
We also write to inform you that whatever date becomes the final and lawful date of the Ohio presidential primary election, whether by court order or by legislative action, your office must allow Ohio citizens to register to vote up to 30 days prior to Election Day to remain in compliance with Section 8 of the NVRA and Article V of the Ohio Constitution.
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