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Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Representing the 3rd District of Ohio

Joyce Beatty Says Enough with the Voter Purge

Jun 17, 2019
News Articles

The outrageous number of names purged from voting rolls in recent years has surged, blocking the ballot box for millions of Americans. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH) wants to ban the practice entirely. SHe introduced on Wednesday the Save Voters Act which would bar states from purging potential voters based on their failure to vote or respond to a written notice, unless the notification is returned as undeliverable.

“The right to vote is not a ‘use-it or lose-it’ proposition,” Beatty said. “Voting is a permanent guarantee that is essential to our democracy and fundamental to all the other rights we share as Americans.” The Supreme Court’s decision allowing the State of Ohio to continue its aggressive voter purge makes it much harder for Ohioans to vote—especially communities of color, veterans and vulnerable populations—and lays the groundwork for other states to prevent many more Americans from freely exercising their constitutional right to vote.” Beatty continued, “That is why I am introducing the Save Voters Act to ensure that a person who is registered to vote and has not done anything to affirmatively disqualify themselves has their vote counted.”

Beatty’s legislation would also require a state to inform a voter when they are removed from the rolls, as well as include the reason for removal and information on how to contest removal or be reinstated. Further, states would also have to disseminate a public notice within 48 hours of conducting any general program to remove names from the official list of eligible voters, informing the public that list maintenance is taking place and that registrants should check their voter status. Last year, the Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s means of removing voter registrations that the state feels are outdated from its rolls, forcing some to have to register once again to vote. Beatty argued this made it much harder for Ohioans to vote, especially communities of color, veterans, and vulnerable populations. She said it “lays the groundwork for other states to prevent many more Americans from freely exercising their constitutional right to vote.” Georgia’s 2018 voter purge, according to election-law experts, may represent the largest mass disenfranchisement in U.S. history. Texas’ acting secretary of state resigned last month after leading a botched voter purge of nearly 100,000 suspected noncitizens that erroneously also targeted U.S. citizens.

 

This article was originally published as part of The Beat DC newsletter on June 17, 2019.