Supreme Court Upholds Ohio Rules for Canceling Voter Registration

Supreme Court Upholds Ohio Rules for Canceling Voter Registration

The US Supreme Court sided with the OH in a case over whether or not the state has the right to cull voters from registers if they go too long without casting a ballot.

The court's conservative majority ruled 5-4 that OH did not violate federal laws by purging voters who don't vote and fail to return notices confirming their residency.

The five justices who typically make up the conservative majority on the court backed the decision while the four liberal justices dissented.

Justice Samuel Alito says that OH is complying with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. More than half the voters in OH fail to cast a ballot over a two-year period, the group said, and those who receive the state's notices simply throw them away.

"Voters have been struck from the rolls in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods at roughly twice the rate as in Republican neighborhoods", the study found. "Neighborhoods that have a high proportion of poor, African-American residents are hit the hardest".

Partisan fights over ballot access are being fought across the country.

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"It is undisputed that OH does not remove a registrant on change-of-residence grounds unless the registrant is sent and fails to mail back a return card and then fails to vote for an additional four years", Alito wrote. "In my view, Ohio's program does just that".

If they do not respond to the notice or do not vote over the next four years, they are dropped from the registration rolls. All in all, the procedures meant someone who didn't vote for six years and who threw out the notices could be removed from the rolls.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who filed a separate dissent, said that Congress enacted the voter registration law "against the backdrop of substantial efforts by states to disenfranchise low-income and minority voters".

This presented a problem for OH because the state utilizes one of the strictest removal methods in the country, according to NBC News. "The only question before us is whether it violates federal law". He is running for lieutenant-governor this November on the Republican ticket headed by Mike DeWine, the current attorney general.

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

OH officials were appealing the decision of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had sided with OH resident Larry Harmon, a veteran and computer consultant who was purged from the polls in the state process, and the other two groups. A three-judge panel on that court had ruled 2-1 that Ohio's practice was illegal.

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