Court rules Ohio must count some provisional ballots for voters purged from rolls

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A federal appeals court is ruling that the Ohio boards of elections must count provisional ballots in this year’s midterm elections for certain individuals who were previously purged from the voter rolls.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the ruling on Wednesday, reported

The court stipulated that Ohio must count votes cast by people who were purged from the voter rolls between 2011 and 2015 and live in the same county of their last registration. Those voters can cast ballots as long as they were not disqualified from voting due to reasons such as felony conviction, mental incapacity or death.

The ruling from the federal court came as part of a larger challenge to the state’s voter purge process.

The ACLU of Ohio celebrated the ruling shortly after it was released, urging voters to cast a provisional ballot on Election Day.

A lawsuit was filed against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) in 2016 alleging that voters were unlawfully removed from Ohio’s voter rolls.

The groups suing Husted say the state’s notices for removing voters from its rolls didn’t comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

In Ohio, voters who have not voted in two years are flagged and sent a confirmation notice. Individuals who do not reply to the notice and don’t vote within the next two years are then removed from the rolls. noted that U.S. District Court Judge George Smith, a Reagan appointee, disagreed with that claim in an opinion earlier this month.

The 6th Circuit Court has granted an injunction to the ACLU of Ohio and Demos, an advocacy group, as they appeal Smith’s ruling. 

In June, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision upheld Ohio’s “use it or lose it” voter purge policy. 

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