The most important state in this year’s presidential election is illegally removing thousands of voters from the rolls, a new voting rights lawsuit alleges.
Ohio currently cancels the registration of people who don’t vote in three successive federal elections, or any of the intervening local elections — a procedure known as the Supplemental Process. That’s led to the removal of 2 million voters over the last five years. Last year, around 40,000 people were removed from the rolls of Ohio’s largest county, Cuyahoga, a Democratic stronghold.
“We have spoken to purged voters from around the state of Ohio who tried to vote in the November 2015 local election and were turned away,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, in a statement. “The already widespread disenfranchisement that has resulted from this process is likely to be much worse in a presidential election year.”
The lawsuit, filed by the ACLU of Ohio and Demos, a voting rights organization, on behalf of two Ohio-based community groups, claims that the practice violates the National Voter Registration Act, known as Motor Voter. Motor Voter requires that, once registered, states must keep voters registered as long as they’re eligible. The suit also says Ohio’s use of the Supplemental Process is unnecessary, because the state also uses change-of-address data provided by the Postal Service to remove voters who move.