ACLU-TN Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Voter Purge Case
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld an Ohio voter purge practice that removes infrequent voters from the registration rolls in Husted v. APRI.
In APRI, Ohio asked the Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court decision that found an Ohio practice of targeting registrants who have not voted in a two-year period for removal from the voter rolls — when there is no evidence that the voter has become ineligible — violates a federal law known as the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). The court assented to Ohio’s request, holding that the state’s process does not violate the NVRA’s prohibition on using non-voting as a basis for canceling registrations because, although the state indeed targets eligible voters who have not voted recently, non-voting is not “the sole criterion” for removing a registrant.
Dēmos and the ACLU of Ohio first filed suit on behalf of Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, and Ohio resident Larry Harmon in 2016, prevailing in the circuit court and securing relief that protected the right to vote for purged Ohio voters in November 2016 and every other election in the state to date.
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, had the following reaction:
“We are very troubled by this ruling, which essentially rubber-stamped Ohio’s voter suppression tactics. This decision underscores the importance of the legislation passed in Tennessee last year that eliminated the practice of purging voters based on a lapse in voting and replaced it with a process based on address changes with the post office or the Department of Motor Vehicles. We commend Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins for taking steps to ensure that Tennessee voters are protected and will not needlessly have their rights stripped away. We hope that our state government will continue to promote the importance of the right to vote.”
More information on the case can be found at: https://www.aclu.org/cases/husted-v-philip-randolph-institute
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