For Immediate Release
ACLU Urges Attorney General to Reject White House Challenge of 200,000 Registered Voters in Ohio
WASHINGTON - In
a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey today, the American Civil
Liberties Union demanded the Department of Justice (DOJ) reject a White
House request to challenge 200,000 registered voters in Ohio. The White
House's request came days after the U.S. Supreme Court denied an
attempt by Ohio Republicans to challenge voters with discrepancies
between the information on their registration forms and other
government databases. There is considerable evidence showing these
databases are fraught with errors that could lead to the wrongful
disfranchisement of thousands of lawful voters.
"With the election one week away,
this kind of intrusion represents partisan politics at its worst. In
addition, challenging - or purging - lawfully registered voters in the
days before an election invites chaos and undermines the integrity of
the democratic process," said the letter signed by ACLU Executive
Director Anthony D. Romero and Washington Legislative Office Director
Caroline Fredrickson. "Despite the lack of any credible evidence of
voter fraud, the White House continues to pursue this probe. If this
purge goes forward, lawfully registered voters could be removed from
the rolls as a result of typos or other innocent discrepancies."
Last Friday, at the urging of
Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner, the White House
requested the Department of Justice investigate whether 200,000 newly
registered Ohio voters must reconfirm their registration before
November 4. However, the databases that would be used to compare the
new voter lists are riddled with errors and could lead to massive
disfranchisement solely due to typos or other data-entry mistakes.
The removal of voters based upon
mismatched information at this late date would violate other federal
statutes and constitutional provisions governing federal elections,
including the National Voter Registration Act and the First and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
"The Department of Justice has a
responsibility to uphold the law and protect civil rights. We strongly
urge you to reject this request from the White House," said the letter.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme
Court issued an order protecting voters in Ohio from attempts to
challenge their registrations based on small inaccuracies in government
databases. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a
friend-of-the-court brief in that case.
A copy of the ACLU's letter to Attorney General Mukasey is available at: www.aclu.org/votingrights/gen/
For more information on the ACLU Voting Rights Project's efforts to fight voter suppression this election season, go to: www.votingrights.org