Federal District Court Reaffirms Constitutionality of Ohio Voting Law, Denies ‘End Run’ Attempt Around Earlier Supreme Court Ruling

There are so many ways to be unethical, sadly, and such behavior shows itself in every conceivable human endeavor and profession.  Among those who relentlessly pursue self-interest and power—and who will use every deception and falsehood to do so in the name of a twisted sense of “justice,” elections tend to bring out the most devious.  There is a solution of course.  It requires hard work, perseverance in the face of every obstacle, and prayer.  The line of individuals working solutions can seem short.  As one often mis-attributed quote puts it:  “All that is needed for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” 

In light of the upcoming elections next week, here are some recent examples of good men taking action, and winning.

Judicial Watch, a non-partisan educational foundation promoting transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law, reports that on October 10, the U.S. District Court Judge George C. Smith for the Southern District of Ohio rejected an attempt by the AFL-CIO’s Philip Randolph Institute to reinstate 1.5 million potentially ineligible voters onto the voting rolls.

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 must send address confirmation notices to all registered voters who had not voted in the previous two years.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholds 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 which demonstrated that many of the proposed 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)).

“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,” notes Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.

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.


Leave a Reply