Civil rights groups suing Ohio over voter registration purges

Ohio,Two groups are suing the state of Ohio, alleging it is illegally purging thousands of voters from its registration rolls for not voting in the last six years.

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A lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Demos, a voting rights organization, alleges Ohio’s so-called supplemental process for purging its voter registration rolls illegally denies people who have legitimately registered the opportunity to vote.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who is named in the lawsuit, called the practice legal and said Ohio’s voter rolls are grossly off. He said the state recently had to remove 340,000 dead people and 1.3 million duplicates from the rolls, all of which provide the opportunity for voter fraud.

In a statement, Husted called the lawsuit a result of “politically motivated election-year politics.”

Under Ohio’s supplemental process, voters who have not voted in the last three federal elections or the intervening off-year local elections are subject to having their names removed from the rolls.

The ACLU said removal simply because someone hasn’t voted recently amounts to illegal disenfranchisement, and it unfairly targets poor, handicapped and homeless people.

“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. “The already widespread disenfranchisement that has resulted from this process is likely to be much worse in a presidential election year.”

In 2015 alone, Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s largest county, saw 40,000 names removed from the voter rolls, Levenson said.

The suit is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

UPI