The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights argued Friday that the Trump administration's decision to support the way Ohio removes people from its voter rolls could lead to the disenfranchisement of more voters.
Last year, the Obama administration filed an amicus brief in favor of civil rights groups who were challenging the way Ohio purges its voter rolls. But under the Trump administration, the Justice Department switched sides, and in August it filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the state of Ohio.
The eight-person, bipartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said Friday it has "serious concern" with the department's new position in the case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute.
"Although no facts or case law have changed, the department has now reversed its position, citing ‘the change in administrations' as the only basis for doing so," the Civil Rights Commission said. "This stance opens the door to more aggressive and inaccurate purging of voter rolls, which can lead to widespread voter disenfranchisement and suppression of low income communities and communities of color."
Cather E. Lhamon, who chairs the commission, called the right to vote "fundamental in our American democracy."
"The Commission will continue to uphold its 60-year mandate to protect that right and remains vigilant in ensuring the Department of Justice fulfills its own mandate of enforcing federal civil rights statutes," Lhamon said.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case in October.