States can purge voters who don't vote or respond to warnings
12 June, 2018, 07:11 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
As part of the lawsuit, a judge past year ordered the state to count 7,515 ballots cast by people whose names had been removed from the voter rolls.
In Husted v. Randolph Institute, left-leaning groups challenged Ohio's procedure for removing people from its voter rolls under the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which was meant to increase voter registration and protect the integrity.
Justice Samuel Alito says that OH is complying with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.
That act prevents states from canceling voter registrations exclusively because those registered do not show up to vote.
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. But partisan fights over ballot access are playing out across the country.
The Trump administration, reversing positions from the Obama administration, agreed with Ohio's interpretation of the federal law.
The SCOTUS ruling wasn't limited to the Buckeye State, as a handful of other states follow the voter purge act as well.
Republican President Donald Trump's administration backed OH in the case, reversing a stance taken by Democratic former President Barack Obama's administration against the policy. Indeed, the majority stressed, not only "are States allowed to remove registrants who satisfy these requirements, but federal law makes this removal mandatory". Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to suppress votes from minorities and poorer people who tend to vote for Democrats.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, the Democratic candidate for Ohio Secretary of State, said in a statement that she was "deeply disappointed in this ruling" and urged Husted to "act with restraint". Clyde said the process leads to the removal of eligible voters, and it's not necessary for the state to maintain accurate voter rolls.
Today the Supreme Court made it easier for states to kick people off their voter registration rolls.
Voter purges are not uncommon, even in states led by Democrats.
In a separate dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Congress enacted the voter registration law "against the backdrop of substantial efforts by states to disenfranchise low-income and minority voters".
In 2015, more than 40,600 Cuyahoga County voters were removed under the process. Under Ohio law, people who skip voting in two consecutive elections and then ignore various mailings from the state are removed from registration rolls, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
Earlier this year, a judge ruled that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), whose office created the Crosscheck program, could not demand proof of citizenship beyond what is required under federal law before someone is registered to vote.
Under the disputed procedure, OH mails notices to people who haven't voted in two years, asking them to confirm that they still live at that address.
So it might be off to the races for a new round of voter suppression, all justified by a yet-to-be-documented risk of voter fraud, and a new burden for beleaguered voting-rights activists who must now focus on educating vulnerable communities on how to avoid or mitigate purges.
"We are anxious that would-be vote suppressors will read too much into it and conclude that aggressive purges or unreasonable purges would be tolerated", Perez said in an interview.
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