Supreme Court Upholds Ohio's Purge of Voting Rolls

12 Juin, 2018, 02:29 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito writing for the majority in the 5-4 decision said Ohio's disputed process of purging voters who may have moved met the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act. The decision came under immediate critici

OH claims that its practices just keep voter rolls up to date, and are consistent with federal law; the challengers argue that the state's purges violate federal law and risk disenfranchising eligible voters. If voters don't respond and don't vote in the next two general elections, they could be removed from the voter rolls.

At least a dozen other politically conservative states said they would adopt a similar practice if OH prevailed, as a way of keeping their voter registration lists accurate and up to date.

If they do confirm they're eligible to vote, or if they show up to vote over the next four years, voters remain registered.

Republican President Donald Trump's administration backed OH, reversing the stance taken by Democratic former President Barack Obama's administration against the policy. A Philip Randolph Institute, a challenge to Ohio's voter roll purges.

"We have no authority to second-guess Congress or to decide whether Ohio's Supplemental Process is the ideal method for keeping its voting rolls up to date".

Justice Samuel Alito, writing the majority opinion, says OH is complying with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act by maintaining its voter lists.

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Democrats have accused Republicans of taking steps at the state level, including laws requiring certain types of government-issued identification, meant to suppress the vote of minorities, poor people and others who generally favor Democratic candidates.

The challengers criticized what they called Ohio's "use it or lose it" policy that they said violated registered voters' right to choose when to vote, noting that some voters do not cast a ballot when they do not support any of the candidates running. Many states over the decades had erected to voting, sometimes targeting black voters. In 2016, an appeals court ruled Ohio's process violated the National Voting Rights Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Aside from showing the importance of who does and does not get confirmed for the Supreme Court, the decision illustrates the weakness of federal voting-rights laws.

"In the state's three largest counties that include Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, voters have been struck from the rolls in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods at roughly twice the rate as in Republican neighborhoods", Reuters wrote in their report.

Civil rights groups said the court should be focused on making it easier for people to vote, not allowing states to put up roadblocks to casting ballots. Justice Sonia Sotomayor criticized the ruling in her dissent today, predicting that it could have a disproportionate effect on the poor, the elderly and minorities. Expect more states to follow Ohio's lead and put in place aggressive purge procedures.

The four liberal justices dissented.

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