Ohio Attorney General candidate Steve Dettelbach called out current term-limited AG Mike DeWine and other career politicians in Columbus in a press release last week for using voter purges to rig the electoral process.

Dettelbach, the former U.S. District Attorney for Northern Ohio who has spent his career fighting corruption, penned an opinion piece in the Columbus Dispatch urging the Ohio Supreme Court to reject the political gamesmanship of voter purging and uphold the Sixth Circuit court’s ruling that the Jon Husted-purge now being defended by DeWine violated the National Voter Registration Act.

Dettelbach also called on Ohio voters to conduct a purge of their own – by getting rid of the career politicians who are trying to rig the system in the 2018 elections, the release said.

Below are excerpts from Dettelbach’s piece. The full piece can be read at this link.

In the coming weeks, a lawyer representing the Ohio Attorney General will stand before the United States Supreme Court and will ask that Court to answer the following question: How many Ohio voters who lawfully registered can the State remove from its rolls without actually violating the law?

Of all the reasons for my state to go before the high court, this is one of the most misguided. The appeal is aimed at gaining political advantage for candidates in 2018 and 2020, not protecting the rights of Ohio voters. …

The Ohio Secretary of State purged 1.2 million people who had lawfully registered as Ohio voters from the rolls, largely for not voting often enough. …

Those actions violated the National Voter Registration Act, said the [Sixth Circuit] court, which specifically says that voters cannot be removed from election rolls “by reason of the person’s failure to vote.” …

The Ohio Attorney General’s most important job is to protect the rights of every citizen. So why is that office going to the highest court in the land to explore the outer limits of excluding Ohioans from voting? Sadly, there is just one reason: Politics.

A Reuters analysis uncovered that in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, voters in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods were twice as likely to be purged as those in Republican-leaning ones—that’s right – twice as likely.

Ohio’s purge is about … whether elected officials can rig the political system to get a partisan edge. It’s part of the same movement that created Ohio’s tortured congressional map and it comes from exactly the same people – national funders and outside political groups pushing all the limits in a state that that has a pivotal role in presidential elections.

Playing politics with voting rights is short-sighted and plain wrong. Voting rights should not be a partisan issue…it’s the voters who are supposed to pick their elected officials, not the other way around, right? …

The purge unfairly impacts certain Ohio citizens. It hurts military-service men and women who are away from their homes, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

This is not the Ohio I know. We traditionally reject extreme politics and gamesmanship. And when Ohio’s elected leaders in either party have forgotten that fact, Ohio voters have pointedly reminded them. …

At times like these we need a truly independent judicial branch. We need the Court to see the damage this type of corrosive action can cause, and step in to protect our democracy. If they don’t, it will again be up to Ohio’s voters to deliver that message—at least those of us that are still left on the rolls.

 

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