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Supreme Court Upholds Ohio's Purge of Voting Rolls

Supreme Court Upholds Ohio's Purge of Voting Rolls

The SCOTUS ruling wasn't limited to the Buckeye State, as a handful of other states follow the voter purge act as well. People who do not respond and don't vote over the next four years, including in two more federal elections, are dropped from the list of registered voters....

In a decision by Justice Samuel Alito, the court emphasized that subsection (d) of the NVRA specifically allows states to remove a voter who "has failed to respond to a notice" and "has not voted or appeared to vote".

It is the kind of 5-4 decision that shows why it mattered that Mitch McConnell kept Merrick Garland off the Supreme Court so that GOP appointee Neil Gorsuch was able to occupy Antonin Scalia's seat.

Attorneys for the organizations that challenged Ohio's practice expressed disappointment.

"Democracy suffers when laws make it harder for U.S. Citizens to vote".

Other states have taken steps to erase duplicate voter registrations without imperiling someone's right to vote.

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An analysis by Reuters found the policy favors Republicans in the state's largest metropolitan areas by removing voters from the rolls in Democratic leaning neighborhoods at roughly twice the rate as in Republican neighborhoods. In their 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court determined that OH was in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

At issue was whether the process used by the state violated the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993, or the more recent Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

The challengers criticized what they called Ohio's "use it or lose it" policy that they said violated registered voters' right to choose when to vote, noting that some voters do not cast a ballot when they do not support any of the candidates running.

Republican President Donald Trump's administration backed OH, reversing the stance taken by Democratic former President Barack Obama's administration against the policy, and welcomed the ruling.

"Voters should not be purged from the rolls simply because they have exercised their right not to vote", he said in a statement.

"This wrongly decided decision paves the way to mass disenfranchisement in OH and around the country", top House of Representatives Democrat Nancy Pelosi added.

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Civil rights groups have fought against the voting measure, arguing that it discourages minority turnout.

The case arose when U.S. Navy veteran Larry Harmon went to his local polling place in OH to vote in 2015. In Ohio, the "notify, wait, and purge" process is "triggered" by "a registrant's failure to engage in any "voter activity" for two years".

"Leftists opposed to election integrity suffered a big defeat today".

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in addition to joining Breyer's dissent, wrote separately to emphasize her belief that the majority's interpretation ignores the intent of the motor voter law - to expand, not restrict, voter participation.

Although he joined the majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate concurring opinion expressing his belief that states have broad leeway under the Constitution to set their own voter qualifications.

OH has used voters' inactivity to trigger the removal process since 1994, although groups representing voters did not sue the Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, until 2016.

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