What the Supreme Court Voter Purge Ruling Means

GettyImages-903324476

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ruled that Ohio's system for purging the names of people who failed to vote in consecutive presidential elections is constitutional, and Ohio's process is stricter than Pennsylvania's.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled OH could continue to remove individuals from voter rolls if they had not voted in two federal elections and have not responded to a confirmation notice or update their registration. OH defended its practice by citing a provision of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act that states can remove potential voters from their lists and cancel registrations if they move.

Minnesota is also is part of a secure system that allows elections officials to compare notes, and discover if a voter has moved and may be simultaneously registered in two states.

The Ohio program follows this to the letter.

Under the state law, voters who have not voted in two years are flagged and sent a confirmation notice.

Without that decision, "the ballots of more than 7,500 eligible Ohioans would have gone uncounted in the November 2016 election", Mr. Harmon's lawyers at Demos, a liberal think-tank, and the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a Supreme Court brief.

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.

"Marginalized populations remain extremely vulnerable to state-sanctioned voter suppression and disenfranchisement", said Freda Levenson, legal director at the ACLU of Ohio.

"This case presents a question of statutory interpretation, not a question of policy", Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, saying Ohio's practice is not unconstitutional.

If you want to check to see if you're still registered to vote, there's an easy online tool for that, Secretary of State's MnVotes website. If they respond, they are maintained on the voter rolls, he said.

Minnesota voters needn't worry about having their names purged from voter registration rolls, even if the nation's highest court says it's OK.

The lawsuit was filed against Ohio's secretary of state over the practice of flagging registered voters after they've missed one federal general election. Those who don't respond and then don't vote in the next four years are kicked off the rolls.

OH purges its voter rolls more aggressively than any other state.

Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, in a dissent joined by the other liberal justices, said, "Using a registrant's failure to vote is not a reasonable method for identifying voters whose registrations are likely invalid". He acknowledged the law bars states from purging voters only because they failed to return the card.

So the state asks people who haven't voted in two years to confirm their eligibility.

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. This decision is risky and damaging and is NOT why we passed the National Voter Registration Act in '93.

Republican President Donald Trump's administration backed OH, reversing the stance taken by Democratic former President Barack Obama's administration against the policy, and welcomed the ruling.

Belladona-Carrera says she anxious the ruling will be used by lawmakers in more states to adopt the OH system. The process is triggered by a failure to vote.

The case is Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute .

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Bitcoin hits two-month low after South Korean exchange hacked
Jun 12, 2018 - 01:41
The company said it asked for technical support from the state-run Korea Internet & Security Agency. It wasn't immediately clear whether the lost coins were stored in the more insecure 'hot wallet'.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Italy, Malta must allow disembarkation of stranded migrants
Jun 12, 2018 - 01:33
The rescuers say those on board Acquarius include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children, and 7 pregnant women. It added that the Aquarius "is still waiting for definitive instructions regarding the port of safety".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Alice Marie Johnson released from prison, thanks Trump for commuting sentence
Jun 11, 2018 - 00:47
The statement noted Johnson was known as a mentor to other inmates, and cited recommendations for clemency from prison officials. Kardashian said the President shared the news that he granted Johnson's freedom in a phone call to the reality star .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top ‘Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind’ HBO Documentary - First Trailer Out
Jun 10, 2018 - 02:02
Robin Williams committed suicide at his home in Marin County on August 11, 2014. Robin Williams was a complex comedian both onstage and off stage.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Canadian Grand Prix qualifying: Sebastian Vettel smashes track record
Jun 10, 2018 - 01:59
Mercedes were first out in Q3 and smashed the records, Bottas topping Hamilton in 1:10.857 before Vettel beat that. We did the best we could with it.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Steve Kerr: Stephen Curry fine with Kevin Durant as MVP
Jun 09, 2018 - 20:29
I had emotions that you just don't get an opportunity like this on the road against Golden State to be able to get a Game 1". Smith grabbed a late rebound with the score level but dribbled away from the basket , thinking the Cavaliers led.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump deepens G7 divide with call to readmit Russian Federation
Jun 09, 2018 - 20:28
It returned to its original make-up after Russian Federation was expelled from the-then G8 over the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Mr Trudeau has described the U.S. claim that the tariff decision was taken on national security grounds as "insulting".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump calls for end to Russian expulsion from G7
Jun 09, 2018 - 20:28
Velshi picked up on the "you're not more important to me because you're an ally" aspect of what Trump is doing on trade. Putin pointed out that Trump has been implementing the promises he made during his election campaign.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Adds 20 more Premier League matches to line-up from the 2019/20 season
Jun 08, 2018 - 05:06
It's also the latest addition to Amazon's local sports portfolio, after it purchased the rights to the US Open back in April . Though Amazon may have gotten a discount , its Premier League price tag would still likely hit nine figures in USA dollars.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Commerce Secretary: US reaches deal with China's ZTE
Jun 08, 2018 - 04:46
The U.S. threatened sanctions, but ZTE promised to change its practices and punish the executives responsible for its misconduct. Shares of Qualcomm Inc rose as much as 4.7 percent while NXP jumped as much as 6.7 percent.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Belmont Stakes: Can Justify win horse racing’s fabled Triple Crown?
Jun 08, 2018 - 03:01
A legendary prognosticator and current CBS Sports expert, Goldberg couldn't have been more dead-on about the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Three years after American Pharoah ended a 37-year Triple Crown dry spell, Baffert is hoping to do it again with Justify .

French Open 2018: Muguruza dumps Sharapova to reach semis
Jun 08, 2018 - 02:26
She pointed her right index finger at her temple when she eventually completed a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2 comeback. In the victory, Halep won 61 percent of her first serve points and 53 percent of her second serve points.

Kate Spade's Self-Destruction Mars Her Legacy As A Role Model
Jun 07, 2018 - 02:01
Spade seemed concerned how hospitalization might harm the image of the "happy-go-lucky" Kate Spade brand, she said. As we reported , the handbag designer was found in her NY apartment on Tuesday after she reportedly hung herself.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Simona Halep hits back to sink Angelique Kerber in quarter-finals
Jun 07, 2018 - 01:57
Muguruza, victor two years ago, will face either world number one Simona Halep or Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals. She went on to commit only 16 errors over the course of the next two, which was the difference in getting the win.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Discovery to Pay $2 Billion to Distribute PGA Tour Globally
Jun 06, 2018 - 12:47
The 12-year partnership involves the development of a new PGA Tour-branded video streaming service, the company said. Discovery has struck a landmark deal to acquire the worldwide television rights to PGA Tour golfing.