Supreme Court Ruling Sanctions Voter Suppression

Civil and Human Rights Groups Cite Ruling as Major Problem for Communities of Color
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins 202-296-2300, ext. 0144
Amanda Bosquez (202) 546-2536
Christiaan Perez 212-739-7581

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to the civil rights fight against voter suppression tactics in a 5-4 ruling in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, et al., where the Court upheld Ohio’s aggressive practice of purging voters for simply not voting.

In an amicus brief  filed in 2017, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, were joined by 19 organizations who conveyed that the aggressive practice used in Ohio of purging voter rolls of individuals who had not voted in a two-year period, is harmful to communities of color, especially those with limited English proficiency in the Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Latinx communities.

In Justice Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion she clearly understood the concerns outlined in our amicus brief and stated how at length our brief explained “how low voter turnout rates, language-access problems, mail delivery issues, inflexible work schedules, and transportation issues, among other obstacles, make it more difficult for many minority, low-income, disabled, homeless, and veteran voters to cast a ballot or return a notice, rendering them particularly vulnerable to unwarranted removal under the Supplemental Process.”

It is important to note that the Court did not green-light purge practices writ large. States may not knock eligible voters off the rolls without providing notice. However, we remain gravely concerned that this Supreme Court decision creates a danger that other states will pursue purging practices that will disenfranchise millions of eligible voters across the country.

John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC: “This decision is extremely disappointing. Today the Supreme Court sanctioned voter suppression efforts that disproportionately harm our communities. But we will continue to fight against discriminatory practices that try to keep Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from exercising their right for access to the ballot box.”

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund: “Today’s decision upholding Ohio’s aggressive voter purge process was a loss for our democracy. As a nation, we should be working to make voting more, not less, accessible to the nation’s second largest population group, and to all qualified U.S. citizens.”

Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF: “At a time when much of the country doubts the efficacy of government we must insist on methods that increase voter participation and civic engagement. Today’s decision in Husted does the opposite. The main goal of the National Voter Registration Act – which placed an affirmative obligation on government to register voters for the first time in our history – is to increase the franchise. We stand with our colleagues who are ready to stop any other state from illegally cancelling out Latino voting strength.”