Judicial Watch Victory: Federal District Court Reaffirms Constitutionality of Ohio Voting Law, Denies ‘End Run’ Attempt Around Earlier Supreme Court Ruling
Judicial Watch Amicus Curiae Brief Referenced in Court’s Decision
‘This Court recognizes that the extreme relief sought by Plaintiffs on their only remaining claim could potentially be viewed as an end run around the Supreme Court’s decision …’
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that U.S. District Court Judge George C. Smith for the Southern District of Ohio agreed with Judicial Watch in rejecting an attempt by the AFL-CIO’s Philip Randolph Institute to reinstate 1.5 million potentially ineligible voters onto the voting rolls. Judicial Watch’s amicus curiae brief opposed this radical step because it would harm the public interest, given that so many of the reinstated registrations would be legally invalid because they are associated with voters who are living in other states or are deceased (Phillip Randolph Institute, et al., v. Jon Husted, Ohio Secretary of State (No. 2:16-cv-00303)).
This second failed challenge to Ohio’s voter law came after the U.S. Supreme Court, on June 11, 2018, upheld an Ohio law providing that the State had to send address confirmation notices to all registered voters who had not voted in the previous two years. This ruling has the effect of also upholding a 2014 settlement agreement between Judicial Watch and Ohio, which required Ohio to use that same procedure as part of a regular Supplemental Mailing designed to identify whether registered Ohio voters had moved away – one of many steps intended to fulfill Ohio’s obligations under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) to maintain the integrity of its voter list.
In his October 10 ruling, Judge Smith warned that the latest court challenge “could potentially be viewed as an end run around the Supreme Court’s decision …”
Judicial Watch filed amicus briefs at each stage of the Supreme Court litigation, supporting Ohio’s voter-integrity efforts and settlement agreement with Judicial Watch as the case progressed from the trial court all the way up to the Supreme Court, which ultimately upheld Ohio’s Supplemental Process and returned the case to the District Court. Judicial Watch Attorney Robert Popper, the director of the organization’s Election Integrity Project, joined with five other former attorneys of the Civil Rights Division Attorneys of the Justice Department to file an amici curiae brief in the Husted case.
“Great news: another federal court turned aside a leftist attempt to dirty up the voting rolls and undermine clean elections. Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections. We will keep pushing in the courts to make sure other states take reasonable steps to make sure the names of dead people and people who have moved away are removed from election rolls,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “After comparing national census data to voter roll information, Judicial Watch estimates that there are 3.5 million more names on state voter rolls than there are citizens of voting age.”
Judicial Watch is the national leader in enforcing the list maintenance provisions of the NVRA. In addition to its settlement agreement with Ohio, Judicial Watch’s win in Kentucky resulted in a historic consent decree requiring Kentucky to take steps to clean its election rolls. Judicial Watch has also filed a successful NVRA lawsuit against Indiana, causing it to voluntarily clean up its voting rolls and has lawsuits with the State of Maryland, as well as California and Los Angeles County for their failure to comply with Section 8 of the NVRA. The lawsuits against California and Maryland are ongoing.
In North Carolina, Judicial Watch supported implementation of the state’s election integrity reform laws, filing amicus briefs in the Supreme Court in March 2017. And in April 2018, Judicial Watch filed an amicus brief in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Alabama’s voter ID law. In Georgia, Judicial Watch filed an amicus brief in support of Secretary Brian Kemp’s list maintenance process against a lawsuit by left-wing groups. Judicial Watch and Georgia won when the lawsuit was dismissed after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ohio.