Fifteen states have filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to hear a case in order to clarify if and how states may use evidence of non-voting as a factor in removing voters from the rolls. The question stems from an Ohio case I wrote about last April. There, plaintiffs challenged the state’s “supplemental process” for list maintenance, which uses failure to vote over a two-year period as a trigger for mailings seeking confirmation that the voter still wishes to vote. The allegation is that the use of non-voting as a trigger violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which expressly prohibits the removal of voters simply for failure to vote.
That argument failed to persuade the trial court to block the law, but last September a panel of the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to direct the lower court to hear the case, finding that the use of non-voting as a trigger should be understood as “resulting” in a voter’s removal for failure to vote. Ohio has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
The amicus brief – filed last Friday by the state of Georgia and 14 other states (Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) asks the Court to hear the case and clarify whether use of non-voting data as a trigger violates the NVRA.