The Department of Justice joined a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Kentucky this week, demanding the state remove thousands of voters from its rolls.
According to voting rights expert Ari Berman, right-wing group Judicial Watch initially filed the lawsuit in November of 2017 against Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), arguing that her agency had not done enough to remove voters from its rolls who were deemed no longer eligible to vote due to a change of address.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration’s Department of Justice joined the lawsuit, and Grimes settled it the same day, promising to remove ineligible names from the rolls. This means that voters in the commonwealth have until October 9, 2018 (28 days prior to the November 6 general election) to check their voter registration, and update it if necessary, or else they’ll be turned away at their polling place on Election Day.
Berman’s report for Mother Jones states that this is the first time the Trump administration has sued a state demanding it purge its voter rolls — and it likely won’t be the last, given the recent Supreme Court decision upholding Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s purging of voters from the rolls who haven’t participated in two consecutive elections.
While conservatives typically claim that voter purges are good, and help ensure a fair election by keeping lists of eligible voters up-to-date, the purges themselves can sometimes lead to eligible voters being removed from the rolls. In 2006, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled against then-Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) for striking more than 8,000 eligible voters from Kentucky’s voter rolls.
Kentuckians can check their registration by going to the office of their respective county clerk, or by going to GoVoteKY.com.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.