Ohio Dems File Federal Lawsuit Against LaRose To Stop The Purge

COLUMBUS — After weeks of disturbing news about Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s continued purging of Ohio voters — and revelations that thousands of Ohio voters were improperly targeted for removal — the Ohio Democratic Party is filing a complaint in the U.S. Southern District Court of Ohio seeking an immediate halt to LaRose’s purging of Ohio voters.

“What we’ve seen over the past few weeks is one revelation after another that the lists used to purge voters from Ohio’s rolls have been strewn with errors. Despite all of these mistakes the secretary of state is still planning to go through with his planned voter purge on Sept. 6, less than a week before a primary election set for Sept. 10,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. 

“It makes no sense to remove voters from the rolls four days before an election. And it makes even less sense to stubbornly move forward when so many errors in the list have been found by outside volunteers and journalists in recent days and weeks. Doing so places thousands of Ohio voters at risk of losing their ability to cast a ballot — through no fault of their own, simply because of bureaucratic bungling. We have been calling for weeks for LaRose to halt the purge and allow an outside entity to conduct a statewide audit of the entire process. Today we are taking the only step left: filing suit in federal court to stop the purge.”

The complaint can be found here, a motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction here, and a memo in support for same here.

In a news conference call Friday morning announcing the lawsuit, Pepper was joined by state Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney, a leading advocate for voters’ rights in the Statehouse.

“I applaud the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute, the ACLU of Ohio, and Demos for fighting for the rights of Ohio voters and winning. We should absolutely count the ballot of every voter who is wrongfully purged, but that doesn’t mean we should keep on purging eligible Ohioans from the rolls,” said Sweeney. “Eligible voters shouldn’t have to go through extra hoops to have their ballots counted because of government mistakes. We know how many errors we have found, and they’ve all been found through different entities. This might be just the tip of the iceberg. No one really knows. We’re calling on the secretary of state to halt this purge.”