Ohio’s Supplemental Process targets voters who fail to vote in a two-year period for eventual removal from the voter roll based on the presumption that such voters have moved. As a direct result of this process, countless voters who remain fully eligible to vote are stripped from the registration rolls and denied their fundamental right to vote.
Last year, NEOCH along with the Ohio APRI, and Ohio resident Larry Harmon sued the Ohio Secretary of State, alleging that the Supplemental Process violated federal law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down Ohio’s controversial purge of infrequent voters, finding that Ohio’s Supplemental Process violates the National Voter Registration Act’s prohibition on removing voters from the rolls by reason of a voter’s failure to vote.
We filed this lawsuit because we believe that the right to vote should not distinguish between rich and poor but the supplemental process appears to do just that: targeting the most vulnerable among us. The supplemental process send a clear message to Ohio’s homeless population that their voice should not be heard. That is not what democracy is all about.
Furthermore, The day-to-day challenges that the homeless face may already keep them from getting out to vote. And because the homeless do not reliably receive mail, the supplemental process penalizes them, making it even less likely they will be able to vote. This is neither sensible nor just; it is cruel.
As a result of the Sixth Circuit’s ruling, the federal district court entered an injunction for the November 2016 presidential election that ultimately allowed more than 7,500 Ohio voters to cast a ballot. All of these were eligible voters who would have been denied their right to vote under Ohio’s unlawful process, if the Sixth Circuit had not enjoined Ohio’s improper practices.
In February 2017, Secretary Husted requested that the Supreme Court review and overturn the Sixth Circuit’s decision. The Court agreed to hear the case in May and set oral argument for January 10th.
Here is a great video from the ACLU.