WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) slammed the announcement that the Ohio Secretary of State’s office is making preparations to once again purge thousands of Ohioans off the voter rolls this September. This latest effort could purge more than 200,000 Ohioans from the voter registration rolls, disproportionately hurting low-income workers and families, minorities and students in the state.
- In February, Brown introduced the SAVE VOTERS Act to protect the constitutional rights of Americans from voter “purges.”
“Empowered by a Supreme Court that put its thumb on the scale for special interests over voters, politicians in Columbus are once again attacking Ohioans’ right to vote. Voting is a fundamental right in our country and today’s move threatens the integrity of our state’s election process. Congress should take up and pass the SAVE VOTERS Act immediately to prevent these purges from happening. We should be making it easier, not harder for citizens to vote,” said Brown.
In June 2018, the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute opened the door for states, including Ohio, to remove registered voters from voting rolls for a failure to vote in multiple federal elections and a failure to return a mailed address confirmation form. The SAVE VOTERS Act would amend the National Voter Registration Act to clarify that a state may not use someone’s failure to vote or respond to a state notice as reason to target them for removal from voter rolls.
Last year, Brown blasted the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Ohio’s efforts to purge voters from the state’s voter rolls after criticizing a reversal by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) against defending the legal challenge to Ohio’s voter purging efforts. In September of 2017, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals found that Ohio’s process of purging voters from the rolls violated federal law. Then-Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, which ruled in support of Ohio’s method of purging voters.
Brown has long fought to protect the voice of every voter, and worked to expand voting rights in Ohio. As Ohio Secretary of State, Brown worked aggressively to increase voter registration in Ohio – even convincing McDonald’s to print voter registration forms on tray liners. The Washington Post once called Brown’s efforts to register voters in Ohio “probably the most intensive and wide-ranging in the nation.”