Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted on Monday defended Ohio’s practice of beginning the process to cancel registrations of voters who haven’t cast ballots in two years, telling the U.S. Supreme Court its actions are needed to keep accurate voter rolls. In a legal brief, Husted said the state’s procedure doesn’t violate a federal prohibition against removing individuals for failing to vote. The brief said election boards ask inactive registrants to confirm their eligibility. Failure to respond to those confirmation notices – not failure to vote – is what triggers cancellation of a voter’s registration.
Husted’s filing added that the Help America Vote Act actually “commanded States to remove registrants if they did not respond to a notice and vote for two elections.” It said Ohio doesn’t go through with the removal unless voters fail to engage in voter activity for six years and also don’t respond to confirmation notices in that time.
“States have always enforced qualifications by requiring voters to confirm their eligibility,” the brief said.
Husted’s brief came in a case the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear where organizations including the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute said Ohio unlawfully removed thousands of voters from its rolls, and disproportionate numbers of them were from low-income, African-American neighborhoods.