Hundreds of Thousands of Ohio Voters Restored to Rolls

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By Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson

Sept. 23 — Hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters may be restored to the voting rolls for the Nov. 8 election, after a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decision Sept. 23 ( A. Philip Randolph Inst. v. Husted, 2016 BL 313954, 6th Cir., No. 16-3746, 9/23/16 ).

Because the state's “Supplemental Process” purged voters from the voting rolls solely for failing to vote in previous elections, the process violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, 52 U.S.C. §20501 et seq., and the Help America Vote Act of 2002, 52 U.S.C. §20901 et seq., Judge Eric L. Clay wrote for the court.

The most recent “purge resulted in hundreds of thousands of Ohioans being removed from the registration rolls due to their failure to vote for a six-year period,” the law's challengers told the court.

The state argued that the purge wasn't based solely on the failure to vote, because voters were only removed if they didn't respond to a notice within a specified time.

But because the notice is triggered by the failure to vote, the “Supplemental Process” violates federal law, the court said.

The court remanded to the lower court, which had previously ruled in favor of the state.

The state is likely to seek intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Eugene E. Siler Jr.'s opinion, concurring in part and dissenting in part, suggested.

Judge Julia Smith Gibbons joined the court's opinion in full.

Demos argued for the challengers. The Office of the Ohio Attorney General argued for the state.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at krobinson@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bna.com

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