Supreme Court allows OH, other state voter purges

Wednesday, 13 Jun, 2018

In a 5-4 vote, the court said the practice, called "Supplemental Process", doesn't violate the National Voter Registration Act, which aims to prevent states from removing names from voter rolls if they don't actually vote.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled OH could continue to remove individuals from voter rolls if they had not voted in two federal elections and have not responded to a confirmation notice or update their registration. But it's possible the number is much greater because Ohio's 88 counties did not uniformly remove voters or report that action. He's joined by four conservative colleagues, while all four liberal justices dissented.

Election officials in the state send address confirmation notices to voters who have not cast ballots for at least two years.

Alito wrote that an estimated 24 million voter registrations in the United States are either invalid or significantly inaccurate, encompassing about 1 in 8 voters. Thankfully, today the Supreme Court reined in one of those lower court opinions, but the broader threat to state powers over election integrity remains strong. The court said Ohio's method did not violate federal law, the central question in the case.

It means other states are now likely to follow Ohio's lead, and may even do so in a hurry before the midterm elections. Judge Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, said those backing Harmon were doing so based on policy preferences, not the law. According to briefs in the case, Harmon "expressed his dissatisfaction with the candidates by exercising his right not to vote".

Clyde said there's ample evidence that thousands of voters who showed up to vote had been wrongly purged.

Supreme Court rules Ohio's voter purge didn't... Supreme Court said Monday the state of OH can continue its controversial practice of purging names from its voter rolls. If someone doesn't respond and then doesn't vote during the next four years, the state removes the person.

Nineteen states use voter inactivity in the process of purging their databases, though only a handful make non-voting as central as OH does.

Civil rights groups said the court should be focused on making it easier for people to vote, not allowing states to put up roadblocks to casting ballots. That law states that "nothing in this paragraph may be construed to prohibit a state from using the procedures described" in the motor voter law.

Alito responded: "Justice Sotomayor's dissent says nothing about what is relevant in this case - namely, the language of the NVRA", adding that she "has not pointed to any evidence in the record that OH instituted or has carried out its program with discriminatory intent".

In September 2016, a federal appeals court ruled against OH, saying that 7,515 ballots that had been struck could be cast in the that fall's election.

Eligible Ohio voters who have not participated in over two years are targeted by the rule.

Husted said that OH wants to "make it easy to vote and hard to cheat".

The litigation also marked one of several high-profile matters in which the Justice Department in the Trump administration sharply reversed course from its positions in the Obama era.

The case arose when U.S. Navy veteran Larry Harmon went to his local polling place in OH to vote in 2015. Ohio's process, he claims, "does not strike any registrant exclusively by reason of the failure to vote".