Congressman Tim Ryan Statement on the Department of Justice Reversing Positions on Ohio Voter Purges

Aug 8, 2017

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan made the following statement in response to the Department of Justice reversing its position in order to support the State of Ohio’s efforts to purge hundreds of thousands of eligible voters from the voter registration rolls.

“The right to vote in free and fair elections in the United States is the backbone of our democracy. Citizens from every background and demographic should be ready to defend this solemn right from any threat, foreign or domestic. Yet at every turn, the Trump Administration and the Republican Party have put up roadblock after roadblock to make it harder for Americans to exercise their right to vote. They are now going after Ohio voters. The Department of Justice should be dedicated to preserving and expanding the right of every eligible citizen to vote. Under President Trump, the Justice Department has sanctioned the State of Ohio’s efforts to wrongfully strip Ohioans of their right to participate freely in the electoral process.  This is an alarming development by an Administration that is proving itself to be the most dangerous to democratic norms and values in my lifetime,” said Congressman Ryan.

Since the start of his term, Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted has purged roughly two million voters from the registration rolls who were deemed to be inactive. In major cities like Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, voters were removed from the rolls in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods at about twice the rate as in Republican-leaning neighborhoods. These purges disproportionately affected African Americans and other minority voters, as well as low-income communities. The Obama Administration supported legal challenges by civil rights groups to this process by submitting an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is set to hear the case next term. The new brief, which was filed on Monday by the Trump Administration, was not signed by career attorneys in the Civil Rights Division.

 

Congressman Ryan remains committed to making it easier for all Americans to vote, and has a long history of supporting and championing legislation that will help improve access to voting, modernize voter registration, and fight back against voter suppression:

  • Congressman Ryan is a cosponsor of the Anti-Voter Suppression Act (HR 3214), which would reject President Trump’s recent Executive order that establishes an “election integrity” commission, which was designed to support policies that will suppress the vote in minority and low-income communities.
  • Congressman Ryan is a cosponsor of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (HR 2978), which would restore voting protections that were struck down by the Supreme Court and help prevent state voting violations.
  • Congressman Ryan is a cosponsor of the Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2017 (HR 2876), which requires States to automatically register eligible voters to vote in elections.
  • Congressman Ryan is a cosponsor of the America Votes Act of 2017 (HR 2854), which would allow voters to affirm their identity by submitting a sworn, written statement.
  • Congressman Ryan is a cosponsor of the Automatic Voter Registration Act (HR 2840), which would require each State to ensure that each individual who provides identifying information to the State motor vehicle authority is automatically enrolled to register to vote in elections for Federal office.
  • Congressman Ryan is a cosponsor of the Streamlined and Improved Methods at Polling Locations and Early (SIMPLE) Voting Act of 2017, which promotes early voting in elections for Federal office.
  • Congressman Ryan is a cosponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act of 2017 (HR 12), which modernizes voter registration, promote access to voting for individuals with disabilities, protect the ability of individuals to exercise the right to vote in elections for Federal office.