Supreme Court Allows Ohio to Purge Inactive Voters

CTY-VOTING08-7

Supreme Court decides case on purging voter registration rolls

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ohio's aggressive voter purge method on Monday.

This is a developing story. In their 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court determined that OH was in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

The Trump administration supported Ohio's voter purge. Justice Sonia Sotomayor criticized the ruling in her dissent today, predicting that it could have a disproportionate effect on the poor, the elderly and minorities.

Justice Samuel Alito delivered OH the news that it is allowed to purge thousands of stagnant voters from the state registration records.

A decision upholding Ohio's law will pave the way for more aggressive vote-purging efforts in OH and other states, said Dale Ho, who heads the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project. "The failure to return a notice and the failure to vote simply serve as evidence that a registrant has moved, not as the ground itself for removal". "Marginalized populations remain extremely vulnerable to state-sanctioned voter suppression and disenfranchisement, and we will continue to fight to uphold the rights of eligible voters in the 2018 midterm elections, and beyond". All in all, the procedures meant someone who didn't vote for six years and who threw out the notices could be removed from the rolls.

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The Supreme Court said that's allowed under the 1993 "motor voter" law. Republicans have argued that they are trying to promote ballot integrity and prevent voter fraud. "The only question before us is whether it violates federal law".

The case concerned Larry Harmon, a software engineer and Navy veteran who lives near Akron, Ohio. And they rejected the challengers' argument that the state's practice violates the ban on removing voters from the registration lists "solely by reason of a failure to vote", reiterating that the state "removes registrants only if they have failed to vote and have failed to respond to a notice". "Ohio's process is accordingly lawful". Apparently I'm getting better at this Supreme Court prediction stuff! And in a scathing separate dissent, Justice Sotomayor reminded the Court that it was perverting the entire objective of the motor-voter law by construing it as permissive toward voter purges - particularly those which, like Ohio's, disproportionately affects minority voters, which the same law prohibits.

For the five justices in the majority - Alito, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch - the extent to which Ohio's practice hews to subsection (d) was enough.

OH has sent more than 3 million notices of address confirmation since 2011, when Husted became Secretary of State.

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