Voting Rights Groups File Amicus Brief in Ex Rel Ohio Democratic Party v LaRose

03.24.20

Voting Rights Groups File Amicus Brief in Ex Rel Ohio Democratic Party v LaRose

COLUMBUS– Today the ACLU of Ohio, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Dēmos filed an amicus brief on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Ohio and the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute in the case Ex Rel Ohio Democratic Party v Frank LaRose, a case in which Ohio political parties are fighting over when and how to conduct Ohio’s rescheduled primary election. The voting rights organizations do not take the side of any party in this case, but file this brief to alert the Court (and the parties) to two particular matters: that federal law requires the state to also adjust the voter registration deadline and the need to make voting accessible to eligible citizens.

The voting advocates point out that regardless of what date the primary election is to be held, federal law requires that Ohioans must be permitted to continue to register to vote up to 30 days in advance. The organizations also caution that the methods of voting in the rescheduled primary, as suggested by the political parties, rely exclusively on an overly narrow vote-by-mail scheme, and point out that reliance on that exclusive option will make voting inaccessible for some communities across the state.

“We cannot allow politics to get in the way of Ohio’s elections. Each person’s vote is sacred and must be counted. We must ensure that historically disenfranchised communities are given multiple ways to cast a ballot, and that includes in-person voting,” said Andre Washington, Executive Director of the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute.

“There is no perfect approach to holding an election during a global pandemic, but Ohio must abide by bedrock voter registration laws. Additionally, Ohio should ease the vote-by-mail process, which is cumbersome for seniors, youth, Ohioans with disabilities, and homeless citizens. Protecting public health is critical, but we must also do everything we can to preserve access for all eligible Ohio voters,” stated Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

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