A federal lawsuit challenging Georgia’s system of removing inactive voters from the registration rolls was formally withdrawn on Tuesday after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Ohio’s similar voter “purge” policy did not violate federal law. In a 5-4 decision, the high court held that Ohio is not violating the National Voter Registration Act by sending address-confirmation notices to registered voters when they fail to vote in a federal election — and then eliminating their names from the rolls if they don’t respond and fail to vote in the next two federal elections over a four-year period. The decision reversed a lower court ruling that found Ohio’s policy violated the voter-registration law by using non-voting to trigger the confirmation notices.
In Georgia, people who haven’t voted or had contact with the elections system for three years are placed on an inactive list and then removed from the rolls altogether if they don’t respond to confirmation-of-address notices within 30 days – and then vote in the next two general elections.
Because Georgia’s and Ohio’s policies are so similar, the Supreme Court’s decision in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute“essentially disposes, unfavorably, of our NVRA claim,” said Emmet Bondurant, lead attorney for Common Cause Georgia, which had challenged the state’s voter roll maintenance efforts along with the Georgia NAACP.