In a blow to the Left, the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute to uphold Ohio’s rule removing infrequent voters from its voter rolls. The decision allows Ohio to continue to remove individuals who fail to vote in two consecutive elections and don’t return a preaddressed, prepaid postage card sent by the state to confirm their residency.
At its core, Ohio’s rule is practical: voters who have died, or moved and failed to report a change of address, shouldn’t remain on the rolls to invite voter fraud or simple error during elections. Lists should be kept up to date, and citizens can still re-register to vote after they’ve been dropped. According to Justice Samuel Alito, who delivered the opinion of the Court, that’s perfectly kosher under the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) because “Ohio removes registrants only if they have failed to vote and have failed to respond to a notice.”
But that’s not how the respondents see it. And it’s easy to see why—they’re undergirded by the A. Philip Randolph Institute, a creature of the labor union federation AFL-CIO known for attacking voter integrity laws.
The A. Philip Randolph Institute is one of six AFL-CIO “constituency groups” centered around specific ethnic groups (the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance), gay union members (Pride at Work), and women (Coalition for Labor Union Women). Along with the Black Trade Unionists, Randolph represents African Americans in the AFL-CIO.
These constituency groups act as legal and advocacy arms of the massive union federation, building coalitions, publishing pro-union research, and lobbying for union-friendly legislation. Past constituency group projects include protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, attacking “bathroom bills” for “legalizing hate and cementing income inequality” among the transgendered, and criticizing the Trump administration’s “white supremacist wish list to slash legal immigration by 50%.”
The A. Philip Randolph Institute is almost completely funded by unions, including the AFL-CIO, its member unions (like the United Auto Workers), and the Service Employees International Union. The Institute and its affiliate, the A. Philip Randolph Education Fund, are also funded by a number of left-of-center foundations and donor-advised fund providers: the Tides Foundation, California Endowment, Gill Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and San Francisco Foundation.
|$243,115.00||SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION (SEIU)|
|$46,620.00||AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (AFGE)|
|$35,000.00||LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA (LIUNA)|
|$30,100.00||COMMUNICATIONS WORKERS OF AMERICA|
|$25,211.00||LONGSHOREMENS ASN AFL-CIO|
|$23,470.00||UNITED AUTO WORKERS (UAW)|
|$18,500.00||AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS (AFT)|
|$8,400.00||AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION (APWU)|
|$6,544.00||WORKERS UNITED, SEIU|
|$6,000.00||BAKERY, TOBACCO AND GRAIN AFL-CIO|
|$5,000.00||INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS (IBEW)|
|$5,000.00||INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS|
|Data from U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Management and Standards|
The Institute is named after Asa Philip Randolph, an African American union organizer who created the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925. The AFL-CIO and the Democratic Socialists of America both hail Mr. Randolph’s socialism—the former applauding his speeches promoting “militant class-consciousness;” the latter for his narrow defeat in 1920 to Eugene Debs for the Socialist Party presidential nominee.
The A. Philip Randolph Institute has aggressively pursued voter engagement and mobilization for Democrats, most notably through its North Carolina affiliate. The radical racialist PAC Democracy in Color (a spinoff of the think tank Center for American Progress) hails them as a group with a “proven track record of conducting effective and accountable voter registration and mobilization work” in key battleground states. The Institute is also listed as a partner of Democracy North Carolina, a left-wing redistricting organization funded by George Soros’s Foundation to Promote Open Society and the liberal Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.
Alongside other anti-voter integrity groups like the NAACP, the Institute has filed complaints against the North Carolina state legislature’s redistricting committee for creating “unconstitutional districts” after the 2010 Census, accused the state of violating the National Voting Registration Act, and sued the legislature for allegedly pushing “voter suppression” laws.
But while the Ohio ruling is a victory for voter integrity advocates, the A. Philip Randolph Institute almost certainly has its sights set on the 2020 Census. If its past behavior is anything to go by, redistricting committees ought to be ready to hear the words “gerrymander” and “voter suppression” shouted by Big Labor’s legal attack dog.