The Public Interest Legal Foundation(PILF) filed of an amicus brief on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union in support of Ohio’s policy for removing ineligible voters (Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute 16-980).
“The State of Ohio is taking full advantage of its powers outlined in federal and state law to proactively manage voter rolls,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Federal law doesn’t prohibit common sense. After a registrant has failed to respond to notices and not vote in multiple elections, they may be cleaned from the rolls. The interest groups arguing otherwise are keeping voter rolls filled with dead and ineligible voters.
“A decision for Secretary of State Jon Husted keeps more tools and best practices on the table for Ohio and the more than a dozen states standing with them working to maintain voter records for an increasingly mobile electorate,” Adams added.
Below is a summary of observations made in support of Ohio’s voter list maintenance policies.
The U.S. Constitution grants Ohio the power to determine which ineligible voters are subject to cancellation. Limited Congressional actions and court precedent find that regulatory authority over federal elections remains exclusively with the states.
Ohio’s ‘supplemental’ voter list maintenance process is in keeping with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002—finding otherwise violates basic principles of Federalism. Regardless of the standard used to rule, the appellate court is currently throttling Ohio’s maintenance procedures based on restrictions not found in the law. A state’s duty to set qualifications for voting is matched with the expectation that they are enforced. Further, Congress has strictly barred states from only using inactivity as a justification for voter removal. The Sixth Circuit incorrectly carries that further, blocking Ohio from its combined approach of considering inactivity and responsiveness to official inquiry.
Ohio does not remove voters simply for failure to vote—which otherwise would be violation of the NVRA and HAVA. The supplemental procedure requires that a voter failing to cast ballots for two consecutive years, does not respond to a confirmation notice within the allotted time, and continues to not vote for an additional four consecutive years be removed. Inactivity alone does not trigger an automatic cancellation.
A copy of the brief, submitted on August 7, 2017 is available here.