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Justice Department Reverses Position on Voter Roll Purging

photo of purged voters court ruling
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The U.S. Justice Department has taken an unusual move. It reversed its position on a high-profile US Supreme Court case involving Ohio’s process for maintaining voter rolls.

U.S. Justice Department attorneys have filed a friend of the court brief, saying Ohio can legally remove voters flagged as inactive or those who have failed to respond to recent mailings.

Mike Brickner with the ACLU of Ohio says this is the opposite position of the department in recent years.

“You know, we typically rely on the Department of Justice to expand and protect the right to vote. And this seems to confirm many people’s worst fears that this Department of Justice will instead undermine the right to vote,” he said.

Brickner says 7,500 people who voted in Ohio last fall wouldn’t have been able to vote if these restrictions were in place.

Secretary of State Jon Husted has said the case is about maintaining the integrity of elections and without these restrictions, it would be hard for elections officials to properly maintain voter rolls.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.