June 11, 2018
Earlier today, the US Supreme Court ruled in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute by a 5-4 decision to uphold the practices used by Ohio to remove voters from the state’s voter rolls. This voter suppression practice cancels the registration of voters who chose not to vote and who then fail to respond to a notice.
Today’s decision is a setback for traditionally marginalized communities, including voters with disabilities, who are already underrepresented at the ballot box because of existing barriers to voting, such as inaccessible polling places, equipment, and transportation. Furthermore, this decision increases the likelihood that other states will enact similar voter suppression tactics to purge their voter roles and undermine the fundamental right to vote. The right to vote should never be a use it or lose it proposition.
As Justice Sonia Sotomayer wrote in her dissenting opinion, “low voter turnout rates, language-access problems, mail delivery issues, inflexible work schedules, and transportation issues, among other obstacles, make it more difficult for many minority, low-income, disabled, homeless, and veteran voters to cast a ballot or return a notice, rendering them particularly vulnerable to unwarranted removal under the Supplemental Process.”
Today’s decision has the potential to impact millions of voters. We must continue the fight to end voter suppression tactics that deny many voters their right to participate in our democracy. Our focus should be on making the voting process easier and more accessible, not more difficult.
The REV UP Campaign, launched by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) in 2016, is a nonpartisan initiative that coordinates with national, state, and local disability organizations to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. The Campaign focuses on voter registration, education, access, and engagement. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power! Learn more at www.aapd.com/REVUP.