Trump DOJ's Latest Move Confirms "Worst Fears" About Voting Rights

Trump DOJ's Latest Move Confirms

"And this seems to confirm many people's worst fears that this Department of Justice will instead undermine the right to vote", Brickner says.

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.

The Ohio practice involves sending people who have not voted in two years a confirmation notice and removing them from the voter rolls if they fail to respond and do not vote for an additional four years. After a lower court ruled agains the state, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling and remanded the case for further proceedings.

The Supreme Court granted cert in May.

Such a reversal from the Justice Department is "quite rare", said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School who was deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's civil rights division during the Obama administration.

Ohio's procedure allows the state to purge voters who meet certain criteria for being inactive. This brief, unlike the prior one, was not signed by career attorneys in the civil rights division.

The case - featuring Jon Husted, the state's secretary of state and Republican candidate for governor - hinges on whether the state law violates the 1993 federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), known as the Motor Voter Act, which was created to make voter registration easier and simpler.

This week, the Trump administration reversed course in a major voting rights case in Ohio.

To the contrary, groups from the ACLU to the League of Women Voters say the Husted case sets off alarms because it's more about potentially stopping people from exercising their legal right to vote than stopping wrongdoers.

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In the brief Monday, the Justice Department argued that OH gives voters opportunity to respond and remain on the rolls.

"Ohio sends [NVRA] address-verification notices to registrants who have not voted or engaged in other "voter activity" for two years", the DOJ said in its amicus brief.

But in an unusual turn, the department filed a new amicus brief Monday arguing that the purges of voters are legal under federal law.

However, criticisms of the Trump administration's Justice Department aren't limited to this recent shift in policy, which follows a number of other voter-related measures that have been criticized as attacks on voting rights. The facts haven't changed.

"This case is about maintaining the integrity of our elections, something that will be harder to do if elections officials are not able to properly maintain the voter rolls", Husted said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. "Only the leadership of the Department has changed".

"I remain confident that once the justices review this case they will rule to uphold the decades-old process that both Republicans and Democrats have used in OH to maintain our voter rolls as consistent with federal law", Husted said.

VANITA GUPTA: This case will have a significant impact on what states believe they can do in order to purge voters off of the rolls.

Adams, a conservative voter fraud prosecutor and former DOJ lawyer, disagrees with multiple studies showing there's no proof the US election system is plagued by widespread chicanery.