Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Supreme Court’s conservative justices uphold Ohio’s voter purge system

Vox: “The US Supreme Court on Monday upheld Ohio’s system for purging voters from the rolls. The Court split 5-4 along partisan lines, with the five conservative-leaning justices, in a majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, upholding the system and the four liberal-leaning justices opposing it. The ruling focused in large part on technical interpretations of federal voting laws, although the argument underlying Ohio’s system is, in fact, a much bigger one about voter suppression. So what is Ohio’s voter purge system? It’s a means of removing voter registrations that the state feels are outdated from its rolls — forcing someone to have to register once again to vote. Ohio uses a multi-step approach to do this: First, it waits for someone to not vote for two years. Then it mails them a prepaid return card to make sure the would-be voter still lives at the same address. If the state does not get the card back and the person does not vote in any election for four more years, the state assumes the person has moved and removes the person’s voter registration from the rolls, citing a change of residence. Opponents of the system argue that it violates the federal National Voter Registration Act and Help America Vote Act, which restrict a state from removing someone from the rolls just because the person failed to vote. Opponents also claim that the system is unreasonable, in part because many people who received the return cards simply threw them away without responding — not because they no longer live at the residences, but because they may not have known what the cards were for.

The Supreme Court’s Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute ruling concluded, however, that Ohio’s voter purge system did not violate federal laws. The Court found that Ohio’s system uses a lack of voting as just one piece of evidence, along with the lack of response to the prepaid return card, to trigger a person’s removal from the rolls. Since a person not voting is not the sole basis for removal from the rolls, the Court said, it’s legal under federal law…”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.