This Week in the Fight to Vote – August 24-30

By Chris deLaubenfels, Director of Policy and Communications, Let America Vote

Good voting rights news in the heartland

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court ruled that Indiana could not kick voters off voting rolls without warning. The law at issue was passed in 2017 and allowed election officials to cancel a voter’s registration without notifying them. The Seventh Circuit Chief Judge Diane Wood found that “[t]he only way to know whether voters want to cancel their registration is to ask them.” This ruling is a major win for voters in Indiana.

Next door, Ohio voters also received a voting rights win on Thursday. The ACLU of Ohio announced a settlement in a lawsuit challenging Ohio’s across-the-board voter purges. The settlement will allow all eligible voters–who were removed through 2019 from the voting rolls under the purging practice–to cast a provisional ballot in all elections through 2022 and to have it counted. The settlement also provides that casting a ballot will restore the voter to the voting rolls. 

The news of the Ohio settlement was especially welcome because Ohio’s GOP Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that he plans to go forward with purging 235,000 voters from the voting rolls on September 6. Secretary LaRose intends to continue with the purge even though there are serious concerns that active voters have erroneously been placed on the purge list. Sweeping voter purges are unnecessary and simply make it harder for eligible citizens to vote.

The price is wrong: Trump’s trade war may disenfranchise overseas voters

Election officials have expressed concern that President Trump’s trade war with China may make voting more difficult and expensive for overseas citizens–including members of the military. Overseas voters may have to pay $60 to mail their ballots back to the United States. Now, President Trump’s terrible trade policies are not only hurting the pockets of Americans, it is also hurting our democracy.

Making voting more accessible in the Garden State 

On Wednesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill ensuring voters who received mail-in ballots in 2017 and 2018 will get them for future elections unless they opt out. This is good news and will make it easier for anyone who voted by mail since 2016 to do so in the future.

This week’s must read

The Charlotte-Observer published an in-depth look at how gerrymandering has directly impacted communities in North Carolina. The article shows how gerrymandering leaves some citizens powerless to push for political change their communities. “People don’t feel like they’re represented, to the point where they don’t even want to vote anymore,” one resident emphasized. We need to do all we can to fight for fair, non-gerrymandered legislative maps across the country to ensure every citizen’s voice can be heard.

Interested in getting involved to fight for fair maps? On Monday, President Obama announced an initiative aimed at ending partisan gerrymandering. To get involved in the initiative, click here