States Demand Supreme Court Uphold Election Integrity Measures

15 states file amicus brief supporting Ohio appeal of 6th Circuit Court voter roll ruling

by Edmund Kozak | Updated 14 Mar 2017 at 7:21 AM

Fifteen states have joined an Ohio-led challenge of a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that dubbed voter roll scrubbing processes unconstitutional.

Fourteen states on Friday filed an amicus brief in support of Ohio’s petition with the Supreme Court.

“When a leftist institution (partisan or nonpartisan) levels an attack on an election integrity policy, their calculus does not factor in whether the rights of all are served. The only question they answer is ‘will this help us win next November?'”

“Keeping the state’s voter registry up to date is crucial to ensuring the integrity of our elections,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, whose state joined the amicus brief, said in a prepared statement released Monday.

“The process used in West Virginia and Ohio is important to that effort and fully consistent with federal law,” Morrisey continued. “We support this effort to make sure our secretary of state has the tools he needs to maintain free and fair elections.”

Election integrity watchdogs say the 6th District ruling flies in the face of clear federal law and previous decisions from other courts upholding the scrubbing of voter rolls as constitutional.

“We originally filed an amicus brief in favor of Ohio at the district court level,” Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, told LifeZette. “At the time, and still today, we argue that the state is certainly justified in its actions and pursuing the case to [the Supreme Court] for [two] reasons,” he said.

First, “federal law expressly allows officials to consider voter inactivity when performing list maintenance actions.” Secondly, “other federal judges have confirmed that processes identical to Ohio’s are lawful.”

But in September 2016, the 6th Circuit Court disagreed. Following an Ohio district court’s ruling that upheld the state’s practices, the 6th Circuit held that Ohio’s methods of removing inactive and improperly registered voters was a violation of the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA).

As part of its process for complying with the NVRA’s mandate that each state “conduct[s] a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove” voters who have moved or passed away from the rolls, the state of Ohio sends verification of address forms to registered voters who have not voted for six years, asking them to confirm that they still live at the address listed on the state’s rolls.

The 6th Circuit Court held that this practice is a violation of NVRA after liberal activist groups argued it unfairly disadvantages ethnic minorities, poor people, and the homeless.

If upheld by the Supreme Court, the ruling could have significant implications for the numerous states who use similar practices to ensure voter integrity, and make it more difficult to ensure accurate voter information.

“West Virginians demand our election officials make every effort to achieve clean and accurate elections, and that begins with an updated voter registration file,” said West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner. “I am thrilled West Virginia will join nearly a dozen states who are fighting for accurate voter rolls.”

In attacking states’ efforts to protect accurate voter rolls, Democrats and the Left “are projecting a concern that such laws are an existential threat to their political survival,” said Churchwell.

“Consider these moves,” Churchwell said. “Former Attorney General Eric Holder isn’t retired — he’s now actively leading and fundraising for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. Former assistant attorney general for civil rights, Labor Secretary Tom Perez now leads the [Democratic National Committee]. It was Perez who first ushered in the policy of ignoring federal voter roll maintenance laws,” Churchwell noted.

"Former Hillary Clinton election law attorney and Soros stooge Marc Elias joined the board of Priorities USA to combat voter ID," continued Churchwell, while "voter ID opponent and former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander decided to open a super PAC to 'win the public debate' over voter ID laws."

"When a leftist institution (partisan or nonpartisan) levels an attack on an election integrity policy, their calculus does not factor in whether the rights of all are served," said Churchwell. "The only question they answer is 'will this help us win next November?'"

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