NBCSL Reacts to Supreme Court Decision in Ohio Voter Purge Case

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Ohio’s voter purge.  In the case, Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Court ruled Ohio’s practice of removing voters from voter rolls because they did not vote within the last presidential election and did not respond to notice did not violate federal law.  Ohio’s practice is the only one in the nation that moves as quickly and is based on the failure to vote in a single federal election cycle.  This process will allow Ohio to remove names from its voter rolls, even for voters that are eligible to vote. NBCSL President Rep. Gregory W. Porter issued the following statement:

“The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) is disappointed in the Court’s ruling.  Purging voter rolls is a blow to voters everywhere.  Members of NBCSL were working proactively as early as 2014, to protect voter rights and end voter suppression tactics. Whereas the Court noted that Ohio provides notice to its residents before removing them from the rolls, the time in which they initiate that process is incredibly quick.  Furthermore, the process can potentially leave out college students who move around, those who are transient, and the elderly.  The choice to not vote in one election cycle should not preclude citizens from being able to vote in the next election cycle.  With this move, other states may feel emboldened to change their process to remove voters, many of whom are eligible to vote.  As members of our respective legislatures, we will continue to introduce legislation that protects the right to vote.  We will also be looking towards the 2020 Census and the impact the proposed citizenship question will have on redistricting and map drawing.  As we have seen with the last Presidential election, civic engagement is on the rise and we should be doing all within our power to encourage more individuals to vote and not silence their voice.”