For Immediate Release
Due To Unlawful Practices In Nine States, Hundreds Of Thousands Of Voters Could Be Disenfranchised
ACLU Calls On Justice Department To Force States To Comply With Federal Laws
NEW YORK - In
response to a news report showing that tens of thousands of eligible
voters are being illegally removed from voter rolls or blocked from
registering to vote, the American Civil Liberties Union calls on the
Department of Justice (DOJ) to require states to comply with federal
law. The New York Times reported today that election officials in at
least nine states are violating federal law by either improperly using
Social Security data to screen newly registered voters or removing
thousands of voters after the federal deadline expired.
The ACLU is challenging voter suppression efforts throughout the country, including unlawful voter purges in Michigan.
"These purges are in violation of
federal law, including the National Voter Registration Act, which
prohibits such purges of voters 90 days before a federal election,"
said Laughlin McDonald, Director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project. "Of
course states should update their voter lists with accurate
information, but they should do so in a way that complies with the law
and is not driven by partisan bias and does not have an adverse impact
on racial and language minorities. Regrettably, our past and recent
history is filled with examples of partisan bias driving voter purging
and vote suppression. If these practices are allowed to continue, we
could see thousands of eligible voters show up on Election Day only to
find that they were removed from the rolls."
The states covered in the New York
Times report are Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana,
Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.
"It is the duty of our federal
government to ensure that all eligible voters have access to the voting
booth and that their voices are heard. Today's revelation that some are
being denied this fundamental constitutional right is very disturbing,"
said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative
Office. "The Justice Department must prosecute these states for being
overly aggressive in purging voter rolls and blocking people from
registering to vote. As we approach this groundbreaking election, it is
vital that the DOJ return to its historic role of expanding access to
the polls for all voters regardless of race, national origin, language
proficiency or disability. A vibrant democracy requires the broadest
possible base of voter participation."
Through a multi-pronged effort of
litigation and legislative advocacy, the ACLU is on the front lines
fighting assaults on voting rights that disenfranchise voters and
threaten the fairness of November's election. In addition to unlawful
purges, the ACLU is currently challenging the practice of "caging,"
felony disfranchisement, ballot and language access violations and
voting rights violations in Indian Country.
An overview of the work of the ACLU Voting Rights Project's litigation is available at: www.aclu.org/votingrights/gen/
More information on the ACLU Voting Rights Project is available at: www.votingrights.org