California’s attorney general joined a group of other states on Monday to ask the Supreme Court to abolish a controversial policy in Ohio that cancels a voter’s registration for not frequently casting a ballot. A federal appeals court earlier this year found the Ohio practice to be illegal. Though California doesn’t use a similar process, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra signed on to a court filing with 11 other states and the District of Columbia to urge the justices to uphold the lower court’s ruling. “Removing eligible voters from registration lists serves to silence and suppress citizens,” Becerra said in a written statement. “All too often, state policies like the one we’re opposing in Ohio make it harder for our most vulnerable citizens to vote.”
The case centers on Ohio’s practice of sending a registration notice to those who don’t cast any ballot in a two-year period. If a voter doesn’t respond or vote over the following four years, his or her registration is canceled.
In California, elections officials generally remove voters from their lists only if there’s proof the person has died or if it’s clear through other research methods that he or she has moved. Otherwise, those who don’t cast ballots over a period of time are moved to an “inactive list” of voters.
“Aggressive purging of voter rolls jeopardizes the fundamental rights of American citizens,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a written statement. “States should not have free rein to kick voters off the rolls merely because they sit out elections.”