Today, in Husted v. APRI, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Ohio voter purge practice that removes infrequent voters from the registration rolls — when the state has no evidence that the registrant has become ineligible to vote — and has led to the disenfranchisement of eligible voters across the state. The decision creates a danger that other states will pursue extreme purging practices to disenfranchise millions of eligible voters across the country.
In 2016, after having notified Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted that Ohio’s Supplemental Process violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), the public policy organization Dēmos and the ACLU of Ohio brought a lawsuit on behalf of the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH), and Ohio resident Larry Harmon, a Navy veteran who voted in 2008 but was purged under the Supplemental Process despite having remained at the same address and being fully eligible to vote.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down Ohio’s controversial purge of infrequent voters from its voter rolls in September 2016, finding that Ohio’s Supplemental Process violates the NVRA’s prohibition on removing voters from the rolls by reason of a voter’s failure to vote. The federal district court then entered an injunction covering the November 2016 Presidential Election that ultimately allowed more than 7,500 Ohioans to cast a ballot that was counted in that election. All of these people were eligible voters who would have been denied their right to vote under Ohio’s unlawful process had the injunction not been entered.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case in January 2018. Voting and civil rights advocates, disability rights advocates, former Department of Justice officials, military veterans, current and former Ohio election officials, 12 states and the District of Columbia, and the Libertarian Party all weighed in—explaining the flaws of Ohio’s purge practice and urging the Court to find that the practice violates federal law.
- Our brief
- Amicus briefs filed in support of our petition:
- 13 States as Amici Curiae in Support of Respondents
- AAAJ, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and 19 Other Organizations
- American History Professors
- Common Cause
- Congressional Black Caucus
- Current and Former Ohio Elections Officials
- Former Department of Justice Attorneys’ amicus brief
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Rock the Vote, The Nuns on the Bus of Ohio, The Texas Civil Rights Project and the Center for Media and Democracy
- League of Women Voters of the US, League of Women Voters of Ohio, and the Brennan Center for Justice
- Libertarian National Committee
- Libertarian Party of Ohio and the Center for Competitive Democracy
- NAACP and the Ohio State Conference of the NAACP
- NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
- National Coalitions in support (National Disability Rights Network, Disability Rights Ohio, AARP, AFL-CIO, SEIU, Democracy Initiative, National Coalition for the Homeless, Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition)
- Public Citizen, Inc.
- Senator Sherrod Brown
- Votevets Action Fund
- Oral argument transcript
- Audio of the oral argument
- Court’s decision in Husted v. APRI