Вторник, 12 Декабря, 2017

Trump Administration Reverses DOJ's Stance on Ohio's Voter Purge

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Bastiaan Slabbers  ZUMA Attorney General Jeff Sessions Bastiaan Slabbers ZUMA
Howard Terry | 10 Августа, 2017, 00:15

Interest in the case surged this week when the Justice Department, which oversees the fair administration of elections, publicly sided with Husted - a reversal of the DOJ's position under the Obama administration.

The U.S. Justice Department has switched its position in a pending Supreme Court case considering the legality of a purge of inactive OH voters.

The Ohio practice involves sending people who have not voted in two years a confirmation notice and removing them from the voter rolls if they fail to respond and do not vote for an additional four years.

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard the case and ruled that the state policy did violate the NVRA.

J. Christian Adams, head of the Public Interest Legal Foundation and an outspoken member of the Commission on Election Integrity, has filed a friend of the court brief in a case that is weighing whether to consider voter inactivity when purging the rolls.

The Department of Justice is supporting OH in its bid at the Supreme Court to revive a state policy of purging inactive voters from registration rolls. If the voter does not respond and continues to miss federal elections, he or she then would be removed from the voter rolls.

The brief filed Monday takes the side of OH, and unlike the prior one was not signed by career attorneys in the department's civil rights division.

According to the Times, the division "has been at the center of culture-war fighting in recent decades when Republican and Democratic administrations take over from each other".

The lawsuit was filed against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican who is also running for governor next year.

The case challenges Ohio's method of purging ineligible voters through what's called the "supplemental process".

"The Department of Justice's latest reversal of its position in a critical voting rights case represents just the latest example of an agency whose leadership has lost its moral compass".

Under the law, OH officials send an address verification letter to the registered address after a person has not voted for two consecutive years.

The Justice Department's brief on Monday argued that OH is not removing voters only for their initial failure to vote.

However, criticisms of the Trump administration's Justice Department aren't limited to this recent shift in policy, which follows a number of other voter-related measures that have been criticized as attacks on voting rights.

"I remain confident that once the justices review this case they will rule to uphold the decades-old process that both Republicans and Democrats have used in OH to maintain our voter rolls as consistent with federal law", Husted said.

On Monday, the Justice Department reversed its stance, arguing that the OH policy does not violate the NVRA, since "the NVRA does not prohibit a State from using non voting as the basis for sending a [confirmation] notice".

"The law hasn't changed since the department accurately told the court that Ohio's voter purge was unlawful", said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The facts of the case didn't change, but the person in charge at the White House did. "That letter suggested that the Department of Justice is gearing up for enforcement actions that could lead to states engaging in list maintenance activities that, if done improperly, could disenfranchise eligible voters". Harmon was allowed to cast a ballot in the November presidential election.

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