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Ohio Democratic Party Sues State Over Impending Voter Purges

voting booths
John Minchillo
Associated Press

With the ink barely dry on a new settlement between the ACLU of Ohio and the Secretary of State's office, the Ohio Democratic Party is filing its own lawsuit over state’s voter removal process.

Democratic Party Chair David Pepper says they aren’t satisfied with the agreement, which allows voters who were struck from the rolls to vote provisionally in elections through 2020. His party’s suit seeks to stop more than 200,000 voters from being removed on September 6.

“You won’t get the campaign mailers, the party mailers. You are not on the list of people that engage by the politics,” Pepper says. “Because of the way campaigns work, people basically target you. I mean you basically become a second class citizen so you are far less likely to get the interaction from the political universe that the average registered voter gets.”

Maggie Sheehan, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Frank LaRose, issued a written statement critical of the party's lawsuit.

"We're proud of providing unprecedented levels of transparency into this process, but we won't ignore the law,” Sheehan wrote. “When we partnered with the NACCP, the Ohio Republican Party, the Urban League, church organizations, and labor unions to get voters activated, the Ohio Democratic Party stood on the sidelines. Of course a lawsuit is the next step in their tired playbook.”

LaRose says he is following the law that requires maintenance of the voter rolls, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. Many of the voters on the list have died, moved or are otherwise ineligible to vote.

But Democrats and voter rights activists think thousands of eligible voters are on that list and incorrectly slated for removal.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.