The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Husted v. Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, which challenged Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s purging of lawfully registered voters from the rolls.
The case was filed in April 2016, in opposition to Husted’s decision to purge hundreds of thousands of lawfully registered voters from the rolls in Ohio, the swingingest of swing states, during a critical election year.
Some background from Sabrina Eaton at Cleveland.com:
An appeals court ruled in September that the state’s way of weeding out ineligible voters violates the National Voting Rights Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
Husted appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the lower court’s opinion ignored basic federalism principles, calling it an “unnecessary intrusion” into Ohio’s election process.
Ol’ Jon apparently doesn’t like it when judicial review rears its ugly head and starts interfering with his efforts to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people because States Rights!
And guess who joined him in his pro-voter suppression arguments? His primary 2018 gubernatorial opponent, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine of course.
Good to know that whether Husted or DeWine win the primary in 2018, attacking Ohioans’ most fundamental exercise of self-government will remain a priority.
And now the view from the opposition:
ACLU of Ohio Legal Director Freda Levenson said the state’s policy “served as a powerful mechanism of voter suppression,” and she’s sure the Supreme Court will uphold the lower court’s decision.
Andre Washington of the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute said Ohio’s 2015 purge of infrequent voters unlawfully removed approximately 40,000 individuals from the rolls in Cuyahoga County alone, and a “disproportionate number of those people came from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.”
“The Supreme Court must uphold the Sixth Circuit’s decision to ensure that all Ohio citizens have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote,” said a statement from Washington.
A statement from the head of another group that appealed Ohio’s policy — Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless — said that homeless voters and other marginalized people “have to fight to make their voices heard in the electoral process,” and Ohio used the purges to “illegally shut many of them out.”
Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper took the entirely uncontroversial view that making it harder to vote, as Husted and DeWine have tirelessly attempted to do, is some pretty undemocratic and possibly illegal shade to throw.
“The right to vote is sacred, and Ohio Democrats will never stop fighting to protect the right to vote, even as Republicans like Husted and DeWine make it harder for Ohioans to exercise their constitutional rights,” Pepper said in a statement Tuesday.
“The Ohio Democratic Party weighed in last fall with an amicus brief with the federal district court, asking for illegally purged voters to be reinstated to the rolls immediately and permitted to vote. Husted dragged his feet, finally taking action only after a court ordered him to restore these voters’ rights.”
Now it’s time for SCOTUS to hand Husted and DeWine their respective asses, after which point the 2018 political ads will more or less write themselves.