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Voting Rights: Use 'Em or Lose 'Em?

by Countable | 3.9.18

What’s the story?

Ohio says if you don’t vote for at least six election cycles they’re tossing your registration- the voting equivalent of move your feet, lose your seat. Under the Obama administration the federal government opposed the move, but President Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) says the purges are perfectly legal. The legal case surrounding the practice has now moved to the Supreme Court, reports the New York Times.

Why does it matter?

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 contain provisions that require states to keep voter rolls up-to-date by deleting the registrations of voters who move away, but bar states from de-registering people simply because of voting inactivity.

Ohio says it’s complying with the provisions by mailing warnings to voters who have not participated in two federal elections. If the voter then participates in the next four elections or communicates with the Board of Elections, they remain on the rolls. If they don’t, they’re purged.

Obama’s DOJ said the state should have some third-party corroboration, like a change of address filing, to prove the voter had moved before the purge. Trump’s DOJ thinks the current system of warnings by mail is fine.

The state wants to purge over 200,000 registrations under their current system. There are 7.7 million registered voters in Ohio. The potential purged registrations represent 2.6 percent of the total registrations for the state, but primarily comprise poor and minority voters who don’t have reliable mail service or do not speak English.

According to the ACLU suit against the practice, many voters did not even know they had been purged until they showed up to the polls, at which point there was no way to fix the mistake so that their vote was counted in the current election.

What can you do?

Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think about this case! Also, we advocate that you vote early and often.

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(113)
  • Bob
    08/09/2017
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    This is an outrageous move to limit voting to keep republicans in power illegally. I'm disgusted that my home state is the main state behind it.

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  • Linda
    08/09/2017
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    This idea of removing a constitutional right to vote because you choose not to use it is wrong. Maybe they didn't vote because the polling place was difficult to get to or there was no early voting or any number of reasons. Stop trying to make it harder to vote.

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  • Deborah
    08/09/2017
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    I disagree with this it's our right to vote or not!

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  • Jacob
    08/09/2017
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    We need to stop focusing efforts on how to get less people to vote, and focus on how to make it easier for people to register and vote, perhaps with automatic voter registration.

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  • SymanthaFox
    08/09/2017
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    Freedom is the right to Vote or Not to Vote. Have we completely disregarded the constitution?

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  • Ftwchris
    08/09/2017
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    The right has been at this along time they have sought to lock in minority power by disenfranchising immigrants and people of color. All while their dwindling base of rural white voters are out of step with what 3 million more Americans voted for. It's why as I've said when the right takes power, its first priority, always, is to attack and undermine the sources of progressive power. It’s why Reagan gutted Legal Services, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker went after public employee unions and then private sector unions in his state, why virtually every Republican Governor and legislature in the Obama era has rolled back voting rights and gerrymandered election districts to seal in electoral advantage, why when blue cities take progressive measures in areas from wages to gun safety, conservative state legislatures move to “pre-empt” their powers, and why Planned Parenthood is public enemy #1 on the right’s hit list. Labor and Planned Parenthood are both sources of self-financed electoral and progressive movement strength, and key pillars of a fair and just world for workers and families. Making it harder for young people, low-income people and communities of color to vote perpetuates the grip of a demographically dwindling Republican base. The unprecedented denial of a President’s right to fill a Supreme Court seat tilts the balance of the court for a generation, assures that bad decisions on Citizens United, gun regulation and voting rights stay in place or get worse, and bodes ill for abortion rights, gay and transgender people and immigrants. High on the list of the fights we must wage, and work hard to win, are those which involve changes to the structure of power – to resources, voting and courts – upon which so many other fights depend.

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  • Bluewitsend
    08/09/2017
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    Will you people stop trying to take the right to vote away from Americans! Stop gerrymandering and thinking up ways to manipulate our voting system. This is our democracy and we will not give up our right to vote! Stop the cheating, lying, manipulation and slandering! Hold people running for office accountable for their unscrupulous actions! This country has built in values and principles of truth, justice and freedom. It is not acceptable to disregard and disrespect our system or our Constitution.

    Like (4)
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  • Carol
    08/10/2017
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    Protect our voting rights..no time limit.

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  • GatewayJohn
    08/10/2017
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    Remember it is voting RIGHT not requirement. The best way to bring utilization to a high percentage is to assure that all voters, as well as the rest of population, are well informed not only about issues but also about civic responsibility.

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  • Adam
    08/09/2017
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    There's nothing keeping people from just re-registering to vote if they feel like getting off their couches and actually making their voices heard. It's so sad to me that people would go for years and not vote, when there are people dying in other countries to have the same rights.

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  • Azrael
    08/09/2017
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    If I dont drive for a year are you taking my license? If I don't write a check for a year are you closing my accounts? Not without a ton of notice Voting is a right My right and you cannot tell me when and how often I need to vote Suppose I don't like anyone running? I don't vote my choice

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  • OliviaC
    08/09/2017
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    Last time I checked we live in a democracy, and in that democracy the people are able to participate in the electoral process. Voting is a right and not a "privilege." Every citizen of this nation should be able to exercise their right to vote. If a state decides to try and take away that right it is in violation of the Constitution!

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  • James
    08/09/2017
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    Not in agreement on this. If you are registered to vote and still live at your same address we He it's your right to vote, or not to vote. We do not just kick any American citizen out of the system because they have been non active in voting. That goes against the constitution! Prove that you are a citizen and you may vote! Period! That from a Conservative Vet! And I'm sworn to our Constitution!!

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  • Azrael
    08/09/2017
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    If I dont drive for a year are you taking my license? If I don't write a check for a year are you closing my accounts? Not without a ton of notice Voting is a right My right and you cannot tell me when and how often I need to vote Suppose I don't like anyone running? I don't vote my choice

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  • Maria
    08/09/2017
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    It is wrong to deny citizens their right to vote

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  • HockeyGuy
    08/10/2017
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    The only condition to remove a person from the voter registration rolls is upon their death! We are guaranteed the right to make choices, and it is my right to refuse to vote for candidates who do not represent my beliefs and principles!

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  • Kim
    08/09/2017
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    Pass it...it's good legislation and helps to prevent some fraud.

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  • Art
    08/09/2017
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    Make it easier to vote not harder! Level the playing field and run on your morals and values! What are you afraid of!!

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  • Mary
    08/09/2017
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    WTF this is criminal. If we had more choices when we voted I think more people would vote. After all both parties are so similar it's like choosing a ford or a Chevrolet. How about giving us more options. Do not remove people from the rosters. It is not your decision or choice.

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  • TMoorePA610
    08/10/2017
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    In my opinion voter registration should be automatic - on your 18th birthday, if you're a US citizen, you're registered. This status should never be revoked for any reason. Furthermore, voting should be done by mail, during a prescribed time-frame, for every election - local, state, and national. Finally, let's eliminate gerrymandering (computers can redraw district lines in an equitable way), and let's get rid of the electoral college once and for all. Thanks.

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