Appeals court: Ohio voter purge illegal

This is a perfect illustration of hardball politics when it comes to trying to prevent voter fraud.

For 20 years, Ohio has purged its voter rolls of people who have not voted in the last several elections. The usual reasons for why people don't vote is that they are dead, or have moved out of state.

The Hill:

In a 2-1 decision, the appeals court reversed the lower court's ruling, sending the case back for remedy, CNN reported.

According to the ruling, the purge would affect thousands of Ohio voters who don't vote regularly "even if he or she did not move and otherwise remains eligible to vote."

The decision is a victory for the American Civil Liberties Union in Ohio that has spearheaded the campaign to defeat the practice.

"We are very happy that the court found that process of purging voters in Ohio is illegal and must stop," said Mike Brickner, Senior Policy Director at the ACLU. "We don't believe that any voters should be removed from the rolls simply because they haven't voted in a few elections."

According to Secretary of State Jon Husted, who is a strong supporter of the "Supplemental Process" method, the long-standing practice was used to suppress voter fraud. 

The decision on Friday "overturns 20 years of Ohio law and practice, which has been carried out by the last four secretaries of state, both Democrat and Republican," he said.

"It is one thing to strike down a longstanding procedure; it is another to craft a workable remedy. To that end, if the final resolution requires us to reinstate voting eligibility to individuals who have died or moved out of Ohio, we will appeal," he added.

The few genuine voters that are purged who simply haven't taken the time to vote but are still eligible may find it inconvenient that they need to register again (although it's become ridiculously easy to register these days.).  But is that any reason to throw the whole process out and invite voter fraud? The ACLU and liberal Democrats thinks it is.

Ohio's voter rolls, like almost every other state's rolls, are a mess. Records are kept on antiquated computer systems that are inadequate to the task and vulnerable to hacking. Being able to quickly differentiate between the dead and living, for example. would make the purge more efficient - and probably legal. 

But culling the list to include only those who are no longer eligible to vote will be a painstaking process that may not be completed in time for the November election. 

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