Voter Registration Victory for Nonprofits in Ohio

People For the American Way Foundation Fights HB3, Blackwell Rules

CLEVELAND—People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF) today hailed a court victory in Ohio, where U.S. District Judge Kathleen O’Malley issued a preliminary injunction against portions of Ohio’s new voter law and Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s restrictive interpretations of that law.

PFAWF and the other nonprofit organizations that brought the suit argued that Blackwell’s rules were hobbling efforts to register new voters, especially in minority and low-income communities. The Reverend Tony Minor, whose Community of Faith Assembly church in East Cleveland was a plaintiff in the suit, expressed relief.

“We’re overjoyed. Thanks to this ruling, we can hit the streets this Labor Day weekend, and redouble our efforts to register voters in time for this year’s election. The Secretary of State’s rules were really slowing us down with a lot of needless bureaucracy. The judge’s ruling today means that small churches without a lot of resources will still be able to reach into the community and sign up voters. That’s good for our community, and good for Ohio,” said Minor, whose church registers voters through PFAWF’s nonpartisan “Victory Through Voting” project.

PFAWF was plaintiff and co-counsel in the suit with Project Vote of Ohio, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Communities of Faith Assembly Church, Common Cause Ohio, and the American Association of People with Disabilities.

“The judge recognized that these rules were severely restricting the fundamental right of people to register and to vote. We’re going to ramp up our nonpartisan voter registration efforts, and we hope this will clear the way for nonprofit groups as well. Democracy works best when more people can take part in the process. Today’s ruling is a victory for good government,” said Elliot Mincberg, PFAWF legal director.

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