SCOTUS Rules on Ohio Voter Purge - Cortney O'Brien


On Friday, a federal judge ruled against an IN law passed earlier this year that would have canceled registrations for anyone whose name was flagged by the Crosscheck program, an interstate compact by which states cross-reference their voter lists against each other to weed out those who might be registered IN multiple states.

"Today's decision could provide a road map to other states to follow Ohio's lead and to adopt aggressive rules for culling their voter rolls going forward, even with respect to folks who are still living in OH and legally eligible to vote", Vladeck said. The state presumes a voter has moved if he does not respond to that notice to confirm he still lives at the address on file and also fails to vote in at least one election over the next four years.

And, sure enough, the Supreme Court split entirely along party lines in Husted.

Under Ohio's policy, if registered voters miss voting for two years, they are sent registration confirmation notices.

Attorneys for the organizations that challenged Ohio's practice expressed disappointment.

The decision was 5-4 with the court's more conservative justices in the majority, The New York Times reported, noting that while some other states have similar removal system, none moves as fast as Ohio. It involves a dizzying web of federal legal provisions governing how states may - and, in some cases, must - maintain their voter registration laws.

Other states have taken steps to erase duplicate voter registrations without imperiling someone's right to vote.

"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. The justices are rejecting, by a 5-4 vote on Monday arguments that the practice violates a federal law that was meant to increase the ranks of registered voters.

At issue was whether the process used by the state violated the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993, or the more recent Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The dissenters said it could result in thousands of infrequent voters losing their right to vote.

Adding to the tension in the case, the Trump administration reversed the position taken by the Obama administration and backed Ohio's method for purging voters.

Aside from all the other good reasons to encourage more voting, there's also this: In 2016, U.S. voter turnout hit a 20-year-low.

"This wrongly decided decision paves the way to mass disenfranchisement in OH and around the country", top House of Representatives Democrat Nancy Pelosi added.

The case is the latest skirmish in a nationwide partisan war over ballot access. Giving the green light to Ohio's purge process could have a ripple effect across the entire country.

"Leftists opposed to election integrity suffered a big defeat today". "It does not." The court's four more liberal justices dissented. Breyer wrote the dissenting opinion.

OH has sent more than 3 million notices of address confirmation since 2011, when Husted became Secretary of State.