The decision by
U.S. District Judge George C. Smith in a lawsuit brought by the
American Civil Liberties Union could impact the presidential
race in Ohio, a key swing state seen as potentially pivotal in
the Nov. 8 election. No Republican has won the White House
without carrying Ohio.
The ACLU charged in its lawsuit that Ohio Secretary of State
John Husted's policy of removing from the rolls voters deemed
inactive over a six-year period violated the National Voter
Registration Act of 1993 because it targets minorities and
lower-income voters who tend to favor Democrats.
Smith disagreed, finding that the policy was not illegal because
it removed voters from the rolls only after they failed to vote
and then did not respond to a change of address confirmation.
“Ohio’s procedures of maintaining the voter registration rolls
ensure the integrity of the election process,” Smith wrote.
Husted has said that the policy has been in place since the
1990s under both Republican and Democratic secretaries of state.
“While today’s ruling reaffirms that the process Ohio has used
for over two decades is constitutional and in line with state
and federal law, the best news is that we can put another
wasteful lawsuit behind us and focus on the important work of
running elections in Ohio,” Husted said in a statement.
(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Editing by Dan Whitcomb
and Leslie Adler)
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