Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Supreme Court allows Ohio voter purge

Supreme Court allows Ohio voter purge

In an opinion authored by Justice Alito, the majority held that these federal laws let OH use non-voting as a critical factor in purging voters, as long as it isn't the only factor. He began by describing the ill that Congress was seeking to cure: In the late1800s-early 1900s, states had adopted any number of laws and procedures-including selective voter purges-designed to keep certain groups of citizens from voting and to discourage participation.

But Alito said OH "takes an intermediate approach".

The ruling prompted Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson to reiterate the state's commitment to voter access.

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

"Literally every other state uses a different, and more voter-protective, practice", the group added. In it, she said that friend-of-the-court briefs in the case had shown how the OH system "has disproportionately affected minority, low-income, disabled, and veteran voters".

No other Justice joined Thomas' opinion, perhaps because the question it raised was not necessary to uphold Ohio's rule.

"Voters should not be purged from the rolls simply because they have exercised their right not to vote", he said in a statement.

Half a dozen other states have similar practices.

In essence, a voter can be purged if he or she sits out two midterms and a presidential election, and fails to respond to the mailer sent by the state.

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Voter purges are not uncommon, even in states led by Democrats. Critics had said the process is the harshest in the nation because of how quickly voters are removed from the rolls.

But in recent years, some purges have been viewed through a more partisan lens.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the decision a "setback for voting rights". Alabama put 340,000 voters on its inactive list the same year. The majority found that the state was in compliance with the law in removing voters in this fashion. If it finds voters have moved, they are contacted by voter registration, he said.

"We are now only 5 months from our next federal election and any rush now to remove a backlog of up to 589,000 voters that he has marked for purging will be extremely disruptive and unfair to OH voters", Clyde wrote. If the voter doesn't respond to the notice, update his address or registration information or perform an election activity, such as voting or signing a state ballot measure petition within four years, the voter's registration is canceled. That's because minorities, young people and those with lower incomes are more likely to be disenfranchised by the state's policy.

Attorneys for the organizations that challenged Ohio's practice expressed disappointment. "This agreement makes it abundantly clear - and the DOJ and Judicial Watch both agree - Kentucky has and will continue to be diligent in ensuring its voter rolls are accurate while protecting voters' rights".

The Crosscheck program, which involves 26 states around the country, has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years as some states accuse it of improperly flagging eligible voters. In recent years, the courts blocked states from verifying the citizenship status of individuals registering to vote. If they do nothing, their names eventually fall off the list of registered voters.

"We can no longer trust the federal government to work in our best interests on voting rights", Kander said.

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