Nearly 63 million Americans voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and nearly 66 million cast ballots for Hillary Clinton. But the votes for Trump and Clinton fell well short of the number cast for no one at all; more than 95 million eligible Americans just didn’t vote. Some of those nonvoters probably just didn’t like Trump or Clinton or any of their minor-party challengers. Some were ill or disabled or out of the country or couldn’t get away from work to vote. Some had no way to get to the registrar’s office before the registration deadline or to the polls on Election Day. And, sad to say, some didn’t vote because they’ve given up on politics and government. Whatever their reasons, the nonvoters had the same right to vote — guaranteed by our Constitution — as the people who voted. But because they didn’t vote, millions of Americans now face the loss of that right at the hands of state officials who ought to be protecting it.
This is wrong, and the Supreme Court now has a chance to stop it. Next week, the court will hear a case giving the justices a chance to decide whether states can purge people from the voter rolls for not voting. Since 2011, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has wiped about 2 million Ohioans off the books; he wants the high court’s blessing to purge even more.
Husted is among officials in more than a dozen states who — in the name of ballot security — have used purges, limits on early voting and voter registration, and other tactics to stop millions of qualified Americans from casting ballots.