WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to challenge attempts by Ohio’s Secretary of State (SOS) to restrict early voting and same day registration. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that DOJ filed a statement of interest in NAACP v. Husted, contesting that Ohio has incorrectly interpreted Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in setting election guidelines. Brown offered the following statement:
“There is no greater symbol of our democracy than our citizens’ right to vote,” Brown said. “Any attempt to restrict access to the ballot box is a clear violation of our nation’s founding principles. I applaud the U.S. Justice Department for its efforts to prevent discrimination and ensure that every Ohioans’ voice is heard and counted.”
Brown has long fought to ensure Ohioans’ voting rights. In May 2012, Brown and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) held an official hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights at the Carl B. Stokes United States Federal Courthouse in Cleveland. The hearing examined the impact of Ohio’s repealed voting law, H.B. 194. The law would have reduced the number of early voting days from 35 to 17, eliminated voting on the weekend before an election, removed the requirement that poll workers direct voters to their proper precinct, and prohibited county boards of elections from mailing unsolicited absentee ballots.
In June 2011, Brown raised concerns over highly restrictive photo identification voting laws that were under consideration or already signed into law in several states across the country. In a letter sent to DOJ, Brown asked the agency to use its full powers as enacted in the Voting Rights Act to review these laws and their implementation.