How a Democratic “Minority-Engagement Program” Is Fighting Ohio’s Voter-Roll Purges and Their Impact on Black People

Jewel Wicker

The Ohio Democratic Party has created a program designed to target black voters and capitalize on community grassroots voter initiatives ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

The “minority-engagement program” was established earlier this year, just before the Supreme Court ruled that states can kick people off of voter rolls if they haven’t participated in several elections and failed to respond to a notice from election officials, as reported by the The New York Times. The Times recently reported that Ohio is “more aggressive than any other state in purging its voter rolls,” and noted that the state’s purging process, which critics say disproportionately affects Democrats, is initiated after one missed federal-election cycle.

Reuters reported that at least 144,000 people were removed from voting rolls in Ohio’s largest three counties.

As midterm elections draw closer, making sure people know their status is only half the battle; Tuesday, October 9, is the deadline for registering to vote in Ohio.

Minority-engagement consultant Meredith Turner says organizers are heavily focused on encouraging voters to make sure they’re registered to vote, especially if they haven’t participated in the last few elections. She says they also stress the importance of making sure your information is up to date.

Democrats in the state have their work cut out for them in the upcoming gubernatorial election and other local races. Trump won Ohio in 2016, and Republicans currently hold 12 of the state’s 16 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, as noted by Bloomberg.

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