General Civil Liberties Press Release

11.21.17

Supreme Court Arguments Set for Jan. 10 in Ohio Voter Purge Case

Voting Rights

CLEVELAND U.S. Supreme Court arguments in the Ohio voting purge case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, have been rescheduled for Jan. 10, 2018. Paul M. Smith, vice president of litigation and strategy at the Campaign Legal Center, will argue the case on behalf of the plaintiffs.

“Smith has spent the last three decades defending our democracy and protecting civil rights in court, including arguing numerous voting and civil rights cases in front of the Supreme Court. Smith will be a valuable member of our legal team as we seek to put a stop to Ohio’s illegal voter purge. We look forward to oral arguments next year, and we are confident that the Supreme Court will affirm that the right to vote cannot be treated as a use-it-or-lose-it right,” said Stuart Naifeh, senior counsel at Demos.

Smith has argued before the Supreme Court 20 times, securing victories in cases such as Lawrence v. Texas. Most recently, he argued Gill v. Whitford, a Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering case that was argued before the Supreme Court earlier this fall.

Ohio’s Supplemental Process targets voters who fail to vote in a two-year period for eventual removal from the voter roll — even if they have not moved and are still fully eligible to vote. A federal appeals court struck down the state’s controversial purge process after finding it violates the National Voter Registration Act. Ohio appealed to the Supreme Court.

“This case is about breaking down barriers to participation in our democracy and protecting the right to vote,” said Smith. “Low-income, disabled, and elderly citizens all face particular burdens on exercising that sacred right. Voters should not have their right to vote put at risk just because they missed a trip to the polls.”

“Paul Smith is a superb addition to our team. We look forward to the Supreme Court validating the law – that Ohio’s practice of purging eligible voters violates the National Voter Registration Act, and is illegal,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.

Demos, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Ohio are co-counsel in this case.

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More information on Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) v. Husted