News Worms
News Worms


More proof that Trump's administration plans to purge voters

More proof that Trump's administration plans to purge voters

The move is part of a broader campaign by the Trump administration to support restrictions on who is eligible to vote, a radical change in philosophy from the previous Justice Department, which sued a number of states over voting laws that it deemed discriminatory against minorities.

In a court filing Monday, four DOJ attorneys wrote that the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) allows states like OH to remove voters from the rolls after it sends them a notice alerting them that they will be purged.

The new amicus brief says the Justice Department reconsidered the issue after a change in administrations and has now concluded Ohio's practice is legal.

The case, Husted vs Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, focuses on the state's supplemental process, which cancels voter registrations even if the voter in question has not moved and is still eligible to vote. "Consistent with [the NVRA], registrants are removed from the rolls if they fail to respond to the notice and then fail to vote for an additional four-year period including two general federal elections". This brief, unlike the prior one, was not signed by career attorneys in the civil rights division.

The lawsuit was filed against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican who is also running for governor next year. "This is a major about-face for the Department of Justice after decades of consistently weighing in on cases that have to do with the National Voter Registration Act and whether or not voters can be purged from the voter rolls", he said.

"You know, we typically rely on the Department of Justice to expand and protect the right to vote".

The Obama DOJ had supported the civil rights groups that challenged Ohio's voter-roll maintenance process past year as unlawful, but the agency has filed a new amicus brief that says the process does not violate the law.

But in an unusual turn, the department filed a new amicus brief Monday arguing that the purges of voters are legal under federal law.

Ohio's Secretary of State office planned to remove from voter rolls people who hadn't cast a ballot in six years. The suit said that thousands of voters have been illegally removed from voter rolls, and that the rule disproportionately impacts minorities and poor people. He called the department's decision to back the state "alarming". The facts of the case didn't change, but the person in charge at the White House did.

"This case is about maintaining the integrity of our elections, something that will be harder to do if elections officials are not be able to properly maintain the voter rolls", Husted said in a statement. "Only the leadership of the Department has changed", said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Husted told Reuters that the policy was administered the same by both Republicans and Democrats.

The ACLU called the Justice Department's decision disappointing, saying the agency has consistently rejected the notion of purging people from rolls just for voting infrequently.

Levitt said that not voting and not responding to one piece of mail are not enough to determine that someone is ineligible to vote - and that the procedure affects "less active" voters, who tend to be nonwhite, young and poor.

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