Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President and State Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) today issued the following statement in response to the recent federal district court’s decision in the voter purging lawsuit:

“Purging voters from the rolls simply for being inactive is undemocratic and disproportionately disenfranchises minority and low-income voters in Ohio. I am deeply disappointed that a federal district court has signed off on the secretary of state’s efforts to strip thousands of Ohio voters of their most fundamental freedom.   

“In one of the most pivotal swing states in the nation, I believe we should be doing everything we can to make it easier for all qualified citizens to vote, not harder. This latest ruling and that fact that we continue to face voting restrictions in the state legislature only four months before a major presidential election only underlines the need for a Voter Bill of Rights to enshrine in our state constitution the fundamental right to vote.”

In 2015, according to Reuters, 144,000 voters were purged for infrequent voting or moving in Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties alone. Statewide figures for the 2015 purge are not yet available.

Reece, who represents parts of Hamilton County, is a long-time voting rights advocate and spoke at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

She also leads the ongoing push for a Voter Bill of Rights, a grassroots effort to amend the state constitution to protect all Ohioans’ right to vote. The Voter Bill of Rights would amend the state constitution to define the right to vote as a fundamental right, establish early voting dates and times, allow the legislature to prescribe proper training and staffing for polling locations, create an online voter registration system, protect against voter ID requirements and voter registration tests, and include safeguards that ensure provisional ballots are counted.

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