Clyde Announces Stop The Purge Act Amid New Report On Ohio's Continued Practice Of Cancelling Voter Registrations
HB 274 would protect eligible Ohio voters from being kicked off the voter rolls
July 24, 2017
 
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State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 274, or the Stop the Purge Act. The bill announcement comes on the heels of a recently released report by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission showing polling problems in Ohio. Rep. Clyde’s comments today also follow her recent call for Ohio to quit the Kansas Interstate Crosscheck purge program.


“My colleagues and I are continuing to fight the purge of Ohio voters with the re-introduction of the Stop the Purge Act, HB 274, which would protect eligible voters from cancellation,” said Clyde. “Thankfully, 635,000 Ohio voters have been protected from the purge that was planned for this summer because of the pending purge lawsuit. However, recently released federal data shows Ohio continues to be one of the worst purging states, and is the most aggressive state in the country at targeting voters for future purging. The Stop the Purge Act would put an end to Ohio’s notoriety in voter purging.”


According to a recent report by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Ohio purged another 1,032,427 voters during 2015 and 2016, raising the total number of cancelled Ohio voters to almost 3 million since 2011. Many of these voters remain eligible to vote but either moved within the state or chose not to vote in every election. Ohio also sent mailings to start the purge process on another 2,195,778 voters, which makes Ohio the most aggressive state in the country at targeting voters for purging.


As for the future of voter purging, Ohio continues to be a primary battleground over voting rights. Many voters are safe from purging this summer, but the future is uncertain as the Ohio lawsuit is before the U.S. Supreme Court next term. This case will impact almost every state in the country. Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is quietly demanding voter purge plans from 44 states. That demand raised red flags for voting rights advocates and “lays the groundwork for mass voter purging” according to Vanita Gupta, DOJ Civil Rights Division chief during the Obama administration.


“Ohio is the poster child for overly aggressive and harmful voter purging. The evidence is in and Ohio’s current practices are causing eligible voters to lose their rights, but Attorney General Sessions appears to be encouraging more states to mistreat their voters like Ohio has. The GOP is stepping up its attacks on multiple fronts and I believe we have to fight harder than ever to protect our voters’ rights. The Stop the Purge Act is an essential part of the fight to keep our rights. The only reason to remove eligible voters from the rolls is if you just don’t want them to vote.”


HB 274 would prohibit purging voters who move within the state or don’t vote in every election. The bill would leave in place valid reasons for removing voters such as death, moving out of state or at the voter’s request.


Rep. Clyde has fought against illegal voter purging since she took office in 2011. She convened a panel of voting rights experts on the federal National Voter Registration Act and the Interstate Crosscheck program in 2013, advocated against SB 200 that allowed the Secretary of State’s office to share voters’ personal information for more frequent purging and has introduced multiple bills to stop purging eligible Ohio voters.

 

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