CINCINNATI -- A busload of nuns will descend into downtown Cincinnati Tuesday morning to protest the removal of tens of thousands of Ohio voters from state registration lists by Secretary of State Jon Husted.
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Sister Carren Herring and her group of 25 nuns are calling it "morally imperative" to get Husted to stop the practice, which removes voters who haven't participated in elections in the last six years. Some 30,000 Hamilton County voters have been removed since 2012.
This is meant to clean up the voter rolls, getting rid of people who have either moved or died, but voters who are removed are not told.They could go to the polls in November and not be allowed to vote.
"We believe it’s a moral issue. We believe the right to vote has been hard-won by our forebears and we want to protect that, especially for the marginalized," Herring said. "We found that the ZIP codes of lower-income people have a disproportionate number of names that have been removed, so yes, everybody has a right to vote and the responsibility to vote."
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The nuns are loading up at the Working in Neighborhoods nonprofit organization in South Cumminsville around 7:45 a.m. to head to the official meeting of Hamilton County Board of Elections at 8:30 a.m. That's where they will publicly request an immediate suspension of the removal of voters.
Following the meeting at 10 a.m., the nuns plan to symbolically march around the Board of Education seven times with musicians playing "Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho" on trumpets, trombones and saxophones. This is inspired by the Biblical story found in the book of Numbers, which says Joshua led the Israelites around the city of Jericho seven times until the walls of the city fell.
The group will then hold a voter-registration drive until 12:30 p.m. at Venice on Vine (1301 Vine St.) in Over-the-Rhine to "thwart the damage done by the purge of thousands of voters in Cincinnati."
"Low-income, minority voters are negatively impacted by this," said Amanda Seitz, WCPO political reporter. "They might not have the time, for example, to go to the polls if they're working two jobs and update their voter registration every single year like a more affluent voter would. So they're specifically looking in low-income areas to make sure minority voters here are re-registered."