Mixed emotions come from voting purge ruling

Published 10:46 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2018

On Monday, politics was divided once again as the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati reversed their 2016 ruling saying that Ohio had violated the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 by using the failure to vote as a reasoning for sending notices.

The Supreme Court ruled the approach by the state was allowable, and after skipping a single federal election cycle, state of Ohio election officials sent voters a notice asking them to confirm their eligibility to vote.

In Alabama, state officials had mixed emotions ranging from House Rep. Terri Sewell’s opinion of “voting is not a use it or lose it right,” to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill showing his support in the reversal ruling saying that he was “pleased to see that the Supreme Court upheld the maintenance process used by Ohio.”

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This court case stemmed from an Akron, Ohio man who did not want to vote because he said he was unimpressed with the candidates he had to choose from in a certain election, according to news outlets.

There are many voters who, especially in the past presidential election, could not decide one way or the other who they felt they should vote for so they sat the election out. There are other times when a voter is out of town and unable to vote and simply failed to plan ahead and vote absentee. There are other valid reasons someone skips an election – sickness, unscheduled out of town work, etc.

Are those valid excuses to not vote and risk being removed from the voter rolls? Possibly, yes.

One side of this debate could be that if you do not wish to vote for any of the candidates on your ballot, then you should not be forced to place your vote for a random close your eyes and point choice. That doesn’t sound like a very smart choice, does it?

On the other hand, voting is a right, and if you are not going to exercise your right then you should not clutter up the list of voters.

It is worthy to note the man in Ohio didn’t have his name stricken from the voter roll blindly. He was given ample opportunity to respond to the notice and confirm his eligibility and interest in remaining an active voter. According to him, he did not receive the notice, so we have to take him at his word.

In Dallas County, Probate Judge Kimbrough “Kim” Ballard said that the turnout for the June 5 Primary’s was dismally low, with only around 30 percent of the county’s registered voters bothering to cast their vote.

Imagine the reaction if all of those voters were removed from the active voters’ list. The phones at Ballard’s office would melt down with people angry about being disenfranchised – which in Selma, of all places, is abhorrent.

Voting is an American privilege that many literally fought, and died, for on the streets of Selma. We would encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote. However, should you receive one of these letters, we also would encourage you to respond quickly to this so you could vote later if you wish, because there will always come a time where you will want to exercise your right to vote.