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Husted v. APRI: Rallying to Protect Our Vote

Today is an important day for our voting rights.

At the Supreme Court this morning Justices listened to arguments in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute and will soon answer the question, is the right to vote use-it-or-lose-it?

I joined other voting rights advocates who braved the cold to stand outside the Supreme Court and call for an end to unlawful voter purges.

In Ohio, an individual’s failure to vote over a two-year period, including missing a single federal election, can start a removal process from the voter rolls.

We believe the process Ohio is using is illegal, inaccurate and unreasonable. At issue in this case are the hundreds of thousands of eligible voters who were properly registered, and did not lose their eligibility, but were nonetheless purged from the rolls.

This is unacceptable.

Americans deserve fair, equal representation in our democracy. A democracy that is strongest when every voice can be heard – when every eligible citizen can cast their vote and have it counted. And, right now, too many voices are not heard.

This must be changed.

We must and we will continue to fight unlawful restrictions on voters' rights at all levels and encourage active participation in our great democracy.

Congress made it clear in passing the National Voter Registration Act that it was guarding against processes just like Ohio’s. We cannot stand for political schemes that keep people from exercising their most fundamental democratic right. The right to vote.

While accurate maintenance of the voter registration rolls is important and necessary, that is not the goal of Ohio’s latest purge. These voter purge practices are based on false assumptions and result in the indiscriminate removal of far too many eligible voters. Eligible voters who followed the rules and properly registered to vote.

Inside the Supreme Court this morning, some of these voters made their case that this unlawful purge denied them a voice in their state’s elections.

This case is about fairness. Fairness to the voters. It is high time we took charge of this and put an end to unlawful voter purges.

And it can be done.

It is up to the Supreme Court to strike down Ohio’s illegal process and prevent other states from adopting similar practices.

It is up to the Supreme Court to create ground rules that will help restore trust in our electoral system and ensure all eligible voters' voices can be heard.

So, the question is, how often do you have to vote to retain your voting rights?

The League is confident that the Court will confirm that the right to vote cannot be treated as a use-it-or-lose-it right.