High Court Upholds Ohio’s Right to Clean Voter Rolls


High Court Upholds Ohio’s Right to Clean Voter Rolls

This presented a problem for OH because the state utilizes one of the strictest removal methods in the country, according to NBC News.

"No other state has a practice as ham-handed and draconian as Ohio's", the League of Women Voters argued in a brief in the case.

In the 5-4 decision (pdf), the court found that the state, which drops people from the rolls if they don't vote and then don't respond to notices to confirm their residency, does not violate the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

"Combined with the two years of nonvoting before notice is sent, that makes a total of six years of nonvoting before removal", Aliso wrote.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing the majority opinion, says OH is complying with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act by maintaining its voter lists. In any case, I'm sticking with my original view: the OH law pushes right to the edge of what's legal under federal law, but it doesn't go beyond. 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. That work can not be done less than 90 days before a federal election.

Justice Samuel Alito said for the court that OH is complying with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. If they do not respond and do not vote over the following four years, they are purged.

"The Court errs in ignoring this history and distorting the statutory text ... ultimately sanctioning the very purging that Congress expressly sought to protect against", she added. Republicans say voter rolls need scrutiny to prevent fraud and promote ballot integrity, while Democrats insist the efforts are meant to reduce turnout from Democratic-leaning groups such as racial minorities.

Contaminated voters rolls pose an existential threat to the integrity of elections, yet according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation, as of past year there were 141 counties with more registered voters than living people of voting age!

The state argued that the policy was needed to keep voting rolls current, clearing out people who have moved away or died.

Husted concerns a process OH uses to identify voters who may have changed addresses, and to purge them from the voter rolls.

The case was brought by Larry Harmon, an OH software engineer, who showed up to vote and found his name wasn't on the register. The judge said IN, where 481,000 people have seen their registrations canceled since 2014, must contact voters to give them an opportunity to remain active.

After the last presidential election, the department switched sides in the case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, No. 16-980.

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.

Under that policy, voters who fail to cast a ballot for two years are sent a letter by state elections officials.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who's running as the Republican candidate for governor, issued a statement applauding the Supreme Court's decision for showing "that Ohio was following federal law in maintaining accurate voter rolls". The Left merely comes back to fight another day in 95 percent of the other cases, where the statutory or constitutional question is slightly different.

The Trump administration, reversing positions from the Obama administration, agreed with Ohio's interpretation of the federal law.

The Trump administration defended the OH policy, a reversal from the Obama years, when the Justice Department challenged it in court.



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