The United States Supreme Court upheld an Ohio law that purges inactive voters on June 11, 2018. Ohio Democrats were not satisfied and have been fighting that ruling that allows the so-called “Use It Or Lose It” law to be enforced. Their most recent lawsuit, filed Friday, August 30, again fell flat.
Federal Judge James Graham refused the Party’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop Secretary of State Frank LaRose from removing voters from the rolls. After the restraining order was rejected, Ohio Dems pulled the lawsuit and switched tactics to social media.
According to the Secretary of State’s website, it began with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Husted v. APRI (A. Philip Randolph Institute). That lawsuit concerned “the supplemental process” which eliminates inactive voters. The Court declared that it did not violate the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). CBS News reported on the decision.
However, there was no ruling on the issue of whether “confirmation notices” complied with NVRA. Confirmation notices were mailed to inactive voters between 2007 and 2015. Because this part of the lawsuit was not resolved, and because the practice of sending confirmation notices was discontinued prior to 2016, the Secretary of State’s Office chose to settle with APRI on that issue. That settlement was announced Thursday, August 29.
The very next day the Ohio Democratic Party posted this on Facebook: “After weeks of disturbing news about Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s continued purging of Ohio voters – and revelations that thousands were improperly targeted for removal – the Ohio Democratic Party is filing suit to halt LaRose’s purge.”
After weeks of disturbing news about Ohio Secretary of State @FrankLaRose’s continued purging of Ohio voters — and revelations that thousands were improperly targeted for removal — the Ohio Democratic Party is filing suit to halt LaRose’s purge.
— Ohio Dems (@OHDems) August 30, 2019
Four days later, Judge Graham of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio refused the restraining order request. Ohio Dems dropped the lawsuit and the political party took to social media to push their message.
Andrew Tobias of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweeted about the suit being dropped: “UPDATE: The Ohio Democratic Party has dropped their lawsuit following judge’s ruling declining to block the voter purge scheduled for Friday.”
UPDATE: The Ohio Democratic Party has dropped their lawsuit following judge's ruling declining to block the voter purge scheduled for Friday.https://t.co/AL30WCRbOc
— Andrew Tobias (@AndrewJTobias) September 3, 2019
Social media activity kicked into high gear, and Democratic legislators and other supporters are tweeting and posting their support to #StopThePurge.
Ohio's latest voter purge is going to happen THIS FRIDAY, and #OHDEMS want to make sure no eligible Ohioan loses the right to vote.
— Ohio Dems (@OHDems) September 4, 2019
House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes tweeted: “2,473. Do you know what that number represents? It’s the number of #HD34 residents who won’t be eligible to vote anymore if the secretary of state moves forward w/ the voter purge on Friday. Please check your voter status at https://summit.ohioboe.com/apps/vtrlookup… so you can vote!”
Do you know what that number represents? It’s the number of #HD34 residents who won’t be eligible to vote anymore if the secretary of state moves forward w/ the voter purge on Friday. Please check your voter status at https://t.co/OGS7e3bUaO so you can vote! pic.twitter.com/2sdpxK09l6
— Emilia Sykes (@EmiliaSykesOH) September 3, 2019
State Sen. Tina Maharath added, “There will be 6,260 voters purged from the voter rolls in Senate District 3 on Sept 6. #StopThePurge.”
— Tina Maharath (@TinaMaharath) September 3, 2019
The Secretary of State’s office had a few choice words to add as well.
Maggie Sheehan, the spokesperson for LaRose, explained their settlement agreement and shared her thoughts about the Ohio Democratic Party’s antics. “We’re proud of providing unprecedented levels of transparency into this process, but we won’t ignore the law. When we partnered with the NAACP, the Ohio Republican Party, the Urban League, church organizations, and labor unions to get voters activated, the Ohio Democratic Party stood on the sidelines. Of course a lawsuit is the next step in their tired playbook.”
The legal elimination of non-voters from the rolls is scheduled to continue this Friday.
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