Ohio Voter Rights Coalition Blog;
The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition
The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition is a coalition of nonprofit voting advocate organizations in Ohio. We are dedicated to ensuring that all eligible Ohio citizens maintain the right to vote in every election.
Carrie Davis, League of Women
Voters of Ohio, 614-469-1505
Catherine Turcer, Common
Cause Ohio, (w) 614-441-9145 or (c) 614-579-5509
Voting Rights Advocates
Respond to Court Ruling On Purged Voters
Campaign To ‘Verify The Vote’
Columbus, OH – A coalition of voting
rights advocates applauded a court ruling today that found the state has
improperly removed hundreds of thousands of voters from the registration rolls
ahead of the 2016 Presidential Election.
Ohio voter advocates said the U.S. 6th
Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision rightly restores voting rights to those
Ohioans who were wrongly dropped from the registration rolls simply because
they chose not to vote in recent years.
“We’re pleased the court recognized that
voter inactivity is not sufficient reason to block properly registered voters
from making their voice heard in this year’s Presidential Election,” said Carrie
Davis, executive director of the League of Women Votes of Ohio.
State election officials have removed
roughly 2 million voters from the registration rolls since 2011, including
400,000 last year. The total number of purged eligible voters is unknown since
the secretary of state’s office failed to distinguish between deceased and
inactive voters. Reuters recently estimated that at least 144,000 inactive
voters were purged in Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties alone.
“Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether these voters’ rights
will be automatically restored since the state treats deceased voters the same
as people who sit out a few elections,” said Davis. “If the state is intent on
managing the voter rolls effectively, why wouldn’t they have the ability to
make such an important distinction?”
In light of the state’s policy of
removing eligible voters from the registration rolls, the coalition, which
includes the League of Women Voters of Ohio, Common Cause Ohio, the Ohio Voter
Rights Coalition, and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio,
launched the Verify Your Vote campaign to encourage eligible voters to check
their registration status and re-register if necessary.
“No matter what federal judges or
Statehouse politicians do, you can still have your say in this election. So
take charge and verify your voter registration online to make sure it’s
still current before the Oct. 11 deadline, and then make a plan for how you
want to vote – early in-person, by mail, or on Election Day,” said Camille
Wimbish of Ohio Voter Rights Coalition.
While the General Assembly authorized
online voter registration earlier this year, the system will not be available
until 2017. Therefore, voters who need to re-register can print out a voter
registration form or obtain one from a public library and mail it in to their
local board of elections or the Ohio Secretary of State’s office before Oct.
“Election Day is still a long way away but it’s coming up
quickly. So take charge now and verify your vote,” said Catherine Turcer, of Common Cause Ohio. “And with early voting open to all Ohio voters, you
can cast your ballot anytime from Oct. 12 to Election Day on Nov. 8.”
Early voting period voting will begin Oct. 12. The Ohio
Secretary of State's office may file an appeal to the full 6th Circuit Court of
Appeals or to the U.S. Supreme Court. While we await further court
action, the best thing that voters can do is check their registration and
update as needed.