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SACRAMENTO September 25, 2017 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined New York and 11 other states in filing an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court to protect voters from having their names unlawfully removed from lists of registered voters. In Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute et al., the Supreme Court will decide whether Ohio’s process for removing voters from its voter registration lists complies with federal law. Ohio’s process is triggered when a registered voter does not vote for two years. Ohio argues that these voters may have moved and will remove them from registration lists unless they respond to a mailed notification to confirm their residence to election officials or vote within the next four years. The amicus brief asserts that federal law prohibits using voting history to trigger removal from registration lists, and that this is n ot an accurate way to determine whether voters may have moved.
“Removing eligible voters from registration lists serves to silence and suppress citizens,” said Attorney General Becerra. “All too often, state policies like the one we’re opposing in Ohio make it harder for our most vulnerable citizens to vote. No one should be removed from an eligible voting list because they move frequently or couldn’t make it to the polls for a few years, or because a postcard got lost in the mail. Policies that deprive people of their vote deprive them of their voice. I will always stand up to defend this most basic right in our democracy anywhere it is threatened.”
“Aggressive purging of voter rolls jeopardizes the fundamental rights of American citizens,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “It is wrong and violates both the spirit and the letter of the National Voter Registration Act. States should not have free reign to kick voters off the rolls under false or bad pretenses. Under my watch, California will continue to oppose any efforts to roll back voting rights or disenfranchise American citizens.”
Attorney General Becerra has consistently stood up to protect the integrity of our democracy and the right to vote. On March 1, he joined with California Secretary of State Padilla in speaking out against the United States Department of Justice’s decision to drop a key claim in litigation alleging that the Texas legislature purposefully enacted a strict voter ID law to make it harder for minorities to vote. Earlier this month, he filed an amicus brief in Gill v. Whitford to defend voters from extreme partisan gerrymandering.