Over 100,000 voters in Ohio’s three largest counties may show up to the polls in November and find themselves unable to vote, Reuters reports. The largest chunk of these will be Ohioans who live in poor, black neighborhoods, and who would be likely to vote Democrat, if they were allowed to vote at all.
The purge is coming thanks to Ohio’s practice of removing people from voter rolls who have not voted in three consecutive federal elections. That means that if your last time at the polls was to vote for president in 2008, you’re out. Reuters found that 144,000 voters have been removed from the rolls in the counties that include Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus, but did not have access to statewide data.
Unlike in states like Wisconsin, where voter ID laws are engineered by Republicans with the transparent intent of disenfranchising poor Democrats, the Ohio policy does not seem to have been politically motivated when it was instituted to keep voter rolls up to date decades ago. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t help the GOP, or that supporters aren’t fighting to keep it from going away. According to Reuters’s analysis, reliably Democratic neighborhoods were hit twice as hard as their Republican counterparts, likely thanks to the well-documented roadblocks to voting for poor people, who are likely to vote Democrat.
Civil rights groups are suing the state to end the practice, and at least one conservative group is fighting back. Tom Fulton of the group Judicial Watch called the lawsuit a “power play” by liberals, designed “to ensure that candidates they like are able to steal elections if necessary.”
I’m not sure Mr. Fulton quite understands the definition of the word “stealing.”