One of the wonderful things about the United States is the right to vote. Because people move and die, voter rolls need to be purged from time to time to help keep things honest and accurate. In some places, to help with this, voters who haven’t been to the polls in a number of years will be purged from the voter rolls. But a federal court ruling just made that more difficult.
According to The Associated Press, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court on Wednesday ordered election officials in the crucial swing state of Ohio to accept provisional ballots from those purged from the voting rolls between 2011 and 2015 if they show up to cast a ballot for this year’s midterms — either as part of early voting or on Election Day itself.
The voters were purged only after failing to vote for six years, and failing to respond to a notice informing them they would be taken off the rolls for inactivity if they didn’t answer.
However, the AP reported, the appeals court agreed with advocacy groups challenging the purge on the grounds that the letters informing voters about it “were too vague on letting recipients know the consequences of not responding.”
According to the Washington Examiner, “the ruling will allow provisional ballots submitted by voters purged from the rolls between 2011 and 2015 to be taken into account in the state’s early voting — as long as they still live in the same county of their last registration and have not been disqualified from voting due to felony conviction, mental incapacity, or death.”
It’s nice to know death is still a disqualifier from voting. Still, the ruling means that, despite the fact they had made no effort to respond to the letter or vote in six years, voters who were purged from the rolls now can vote anyway. Rules don’t matter. It might not come as a surprise to know that, according to the Washington Examiner, the groups challenging the purge included liberal outfits like the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the progressive “public policy organization” Demos.
With that kind of context, it’s not hard to guess which party is likely to benefit the most from low-information, low-engagement voters suddenly deciding to take an interest in the political life of their country. The ruling is a win for Democrats.
In essence, the liberals’ appeal was pushing the narrative that voters who were purged lacked the intelligence to understand the letters that were sent out or to inquire about them. This is the same kind of argument liberals have pushed about voter ID laws: That some groups are too low-I.Q. to know how to do what everyone else does, which is to get identification to function in modern American society.
So what is the big deal if purged voters can now vote? Tom Fitton, president of legal watchdog group Judicial Watch weighed in on the other aspect of the Ohio process that the 6th Circuit’s ruling did approve of — the basic principle that voter rolls need to be purged for accuracy.
His statement answers that question.
“Great news: another federal court turned aside a leftist attempt to dirty up the voting rolls and undermine clean elections,” Fitton stated. “Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections.
“We will keep pushing in the courts to make sure other states take reasonable steps to make sure the names of dead people and people who have moved away are removed from election rolls. After comparing national census data to voter roll information, Judicial Watch estimates that there are 3.5 million more names on state voter rolls than there are citizens of voting age.”
Even though the court ruled that the purge itself was not the problem, you’d never know that based on a statement from the Demos, which claimed Ohio voters who were purged from the rolls had been “unlawfully disenfranchised.”
So if voting in prior elections, a rule that has been upheld as constitutional, suddenly doesn’t matter, and if failing to respond to a notice that states you may be removed from the voting rolls if you don’t vote or respond also doesn’t matter, what exactly is the criterion for voters in the mind of Democrats? Breathing? Apparently, following the rules everyone else can follow isn’t a requirement.
The elephant in the room, of course, is that the left fighting this hard to get around the rules may indicate a belief on their part that the voters who were purged would vote Democrat. By getting those ballots accepted regardless of the rules, this ruling opens the door for the kind of “dirty election” the voter purge rules were meant to prevent.
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