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Federal Court Dismisses Suit To Force Philadelphia To Purge Voter Rolls

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has delivered a stinging rebuke to a group that tried to force Philadelphia City Commissioners to purge voter rolls.

The American Civil Rights Union claimed that federal law compels the city commission to remove the voter registration of anyone convicted of a felon.

The court called that a mangling of the law.

The law, the judges wrote, is "a shield to protect the right to vote, not a sword to pierce it" so, while felons can't vote while incarcerated, they can vote as soon as they're released, and the Commission is correct to not remove them.

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Commissioner Lisa Deeley says she's thrilled:

"We'll continue to do all that we can to prohibit the disenfranchisement of voters in Philadelphia," she said.

It's the second time the ACRU suit has been thrown out. A spokesman for their attorneys, Logan Churchwell, says the group may not try again but, given the new administration, the Justice Department may take up the cause.

"It will be very interesting to see if the Sessions DOJ takes a look at this," he said.

Churchwell may have an inside line on that as his boss is on the Voter Integrity panel the president has set up.

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