February 11, 2008
Mike Webb, 212–998–6746/office, 917–660–1846/cell
Wendy Weiser, 212–998–6130
Renée Paradis, 212–992–8162
Today, a federal judge in Cleveland issued a permanent injunction to prevent the State of Ohio from enforcing requirements enacted in 2006 that would have severely curbed voter registration efforts. The judge ruled that the law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments as well as the National Voter Registration Act. Wendy Weiser, the Deputy Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice issued the following statement in response to the ruling:
“We are very pleased the Court recognized how laws restricting voter registration drives unlawfully stand in the way of core democratic activity. The original law hindered efforts by non-partisan groups to help low-income, minority and disabled citizens to register to vote. We’ve seen a renewed interest and desire from many Americans who want to cast a vote during this presidential primary season. This decision will remove Ohio’s unnecessary and unreasonable barriers to groups assisting those who wish to register and participate in the primary season.”
The case, Project Vote v. Blackwell, was originally filed in May 2006 on behalf of nonprofit groups conducting voter registration drives in Ohio. It challenged several provisions of Ohio’s House Bill 3 enacted in 2006, as well as the Secretary of State’s implementation of those provisions. On September 1, 2006, just before the 2006 midterm election, District Court Judge Kathleen O’Malley issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the challenged provisions. In January 2007, Jennifer Brunner replaced Kenneth Blackwell as the Secretary of State in Ohio and as the defendant in this lawsuit.
Click here for more information and a complete history of the case.