"It's troubling that the Department of Justice is taking a position regarding voter purges when just over a month ago they sent letters to nearly every state in the country demanding to know the procedures for maintaining their voter lists", Brater said in a phone interview.
The U.S. Department of Justice has reversed an Obama-era decision that attempted to curtail the OH government's efforts to cleanup voting rolls.
Ohio' s system for removing inactive voters from the rolls does not violate the National Voter Registration Act, the Justice Department said Monday. The 6th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled previous year that the process violates the national voting law.
The Supreme Court will take up the case after it returns in October.
The Department of Justice is supporting OH in its bid at the Supreme Court to revive a state policy of purging inactive voters from registration rolls. "After a registrant has failed to respond to notices and not vote in multiple elections, they may be cleaned from the rolls". This brief, unlike the prior one, was not signed by career attorneys in the civil rights division. If the voter does not respond and does not cast a ballot over the next four years, the person is removed from the rolls.
John Husted, the OH secretary of state who's running for governor, says he welcomes support from the Justice Department. "At issue in the OH voter purging case are thousands of eligible voters who were properly registered, and did not lose their eligibility but were nonetheless kicked off the rolls".
But since Trump took office, the Justice Department has become more hostile to voting rights, and made the atypical move of switching positions in the case.
The Justice Department's brief on Monday argued that OH is not removing voters only for their initial failure to vote.
But in an unusual turn, the department filed a new amicus brief Monday arguing that the purges of voters are legal under federal law. If a voter has not cast a ballot in two years, the person is sent a notice asking them to confirm their registration. He called the department's decision to back the state "alarming". The facts haven't changed.
In the Husted case, Adams said in a Wednesday statement, those in opposition "are keeping voter rolls filled with dead and ineligible voters". "Only the leadership of the Department has changed".
Husted told Reuters that the policy was administered the same by both Republicans and Democrats. "That letter suggested that the Department of Justice is gearing up for enforcement actions that could lead to states engaging in list maintenance activities that, if done improperly, could disenfranchise eligible voters". Some of those voters were legitimately removed because they either died or left the state, but a 2016 investigation by Reuters found that low-income, black, Democratic voters were disproportionately purged.
Adams, a conservative voter fraud prosecutor and former DOJ lawyer, disagrees with multiple studies showing there's no proof the USA election system is plagued by widespread chicanery.