Issued August 23, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC: Voting rights advocates calling for strong protections in our democracy so every voter’s voice counts equally celebrated a victory yesterday as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rejected the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU)’s effort to require states and their subsidiaries to conduct general purge programs to remove voters from electoral rolls. The court ruled decisively in ACRU vs Snipes that the National Voter Registration Act (NRVA) -- which was enacted to protect and expand voting rights -- will not be misused as a tool to suppress the right to vote.
Just prior to the November 2016 election, ACRU sought to force Brenda Snipes, the former Broward County Supervisor of Elections, to expand and increase efforts to purge voters from the rolls. SEIU United Healthcare Workers East (SEIU) along with lawyers from Demos and Jenner & Block intervened in the case “to ensure that no voter in Broward County has his or her registration improperly or illegally canceled as a result of ACRU’s requirement for court-ordered voter ‘list maintenance.’”
SEIU and Demos applauded the 11th Circuit ruling, which made clear that election officials must conduct reasonable efforts to remove voters who become ineligible because of death or relocation.
“We need strong protections in our democracy so every voter’s voice counts equally no matter where they’re from, what they look like or what they do for a living. Across the country, SEIU members are using their power in union to ensure that big money isn’t rigging the rules in its favor so politicians can pick their voters instead of voters picking their politicians. Yesterday’s historic voting rights decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11 th Circuit was a huge victory for working families everywhere,” said SEIU General Counsel Nicole Berner. “This decision creates an important precedent that will be vital in our efforts and those of other progressive groups to defend against right-wing attempts to force voter purges across the country.”
“The Eleventh Circuit’s unanimous decision affirmed our client’s victory at trial all the way around—providing a strong precedent for fighting efforts by right-wing groups to twist the NVRA into a tool for voter suppression,” said Stuart Naifeh, Senior Counsel at Demos. “The court’s lucid account of the law and evidence will help debunk bogus claims of inflated voter rolls and protect the fundamental right to vote in Florida and across the country.”