Nevada’s elections officials say they will consider this summer whether the state will start taking a more aggressive, approach to maintaining its voter rolls as upheld this week by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court in a 5-4 ruling Monday affirmed Ohio’s practice of identifying voters for potential removal if they don’t vote in a federal election. That state removes voters from the rolls if they don’t return an address confirmation card or vote for the following four years.
Editorials: If more states start using Ohio’s system, how many voters will be purged? | The Washington Post
On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld Ohio’s controversial voter purge program in the case Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute. Ohio removes occasional voters from the rolls if they: fail to vote in a general election; do not respond to a postcard asking them to confirm their address; then fail to vote in two more general elections. In a 5-to-4 decision, the court ruled that the purge does not violate the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. Given the Supreme Court’s ruling, other states may adopt Ohio’s Supplemental Process as an aggressive way of removing inactive voters from the rolls. If Ohio’s Supplemental Process were adopted nationwide, how many other infrequent voters could be removed from the voter registration rolls? We try to answer that question.
The first thing to know about the Supreme Court decision that allows Ohio to purge its voter rolls is that it was a case of statutory construction, not constitutional interpretation. The justices were only trying to figure out what ordinary laws say, not what the Constitution means. … The second thing to know is that the Constitution doesn’t matter here in large part because there is no established constitutional right to vote for Ohio or anyone else to violate. Should there be? Yes. While Scott Lemieux points out the limits of advocating for and even passing a constitutional amendment making a right to vote explicit, there’s an excellent case to be made that such a right is already right there in the Constitution — indeed, that it is fundamental to the entire project the Framers were undertaking, even if, for them, that right was severely restricted, something that the 15th, 19th and 26th amendments corrected. The Constitution certainly does not require direct election for all offices, but it does require that all offices, directly or indirectly, get their authority from popular elections, which to me at least strongly implies that voting is fundamental to their notion of a republic. (I should remind everyone at this point that “republic” and “democracy” are best treated as synonyms, regardless of the vocabulary folks used in the 18th century, when they had a lot less experience with these things.)
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.
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to uphold Ohio’s program of canceling registrations of infrequent voters — a decision that history shows disproportionately strikes minority and low-income voters from the rolls. Under Ohio’s program, which a federal appeals court had struck down as violating the National Voter Registration Act, registered voters who don’t cast a ballot in two years are sent a notice asking them to confirm that they still reside at the same address. If they don’t respond, and then fail to vote in the next two federal elections, they are assumed to have moved to a different county and are excised from the rolls.
Editorials: In Ohio, Supreme Court delivers GOP a victory in the war on voting | The Washington Post
Imagine this scenario. Like many people, you didn’t bother voting in the last election or two, because you were busy, or none of the races really interested you, or maybe you’re in the military and were stationed overseas, or maybe you just haven’t gotten around to it for a while. You vaguely remember getting a notice about your registration from the state board of elections, but you threw it away with the other junk mail. You know you’re registered, so there shouldn’t be a problem. Then, on the next Election Day, you show up to vote only to discover that you’ve been “purged.” Because you didn’t vote for a time and you didn’t return that letter, the state has kicked you off the voting rolls. Today, the Supreme Court said that’s just fine.
Ohio: No voters will be purged before November election, secretary of state says | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Monday’s Supreme Court decision upholding Ohio’s process of canceling certain voter registrations won’t affect elections held in August and November this year. No voters will be removed as a result of failing to vote for several years, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office confirmed Tuesday. Ohio’s 88 county board of elections were directed on Monday to not take any action to use the state’s “supplemental process” for removing voters from the rolls ahead of the November election. The supplemental process allows elections officials to cancel registrations if a voter has not cast a ballot in two years and then fails to vote or respond to a notice within the following four years.
A federal judge on Friday blocked the state of Indiana from enforcing a 2017 law allowing election officials to remove voters from the rolls if they were flagged by a controversial tracking system. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled in a legal challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Common Cause Indiana and other groups that the legislation violates the National Voter Registration Act and threatens to disenfranchise eligible voters. “The court agrees with Common Cause that the greater public interest is in allowing eligible voters to exercise their right to vote without being disenfranchised without notice,” Pratt wrote in her 28-page ruling.
Ohio: U.S. Supreme Court upholds Ohio’s process for updating voter registration rolls: Read the decision here | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld Ohio’s method for removing ineligible voters from its rolls, saying it does not violate any part of the National Voter Registration Act. Failure to cast a ballot for two years triggers Ohio’s removal process. Notices are sent to voters whose registration is flagged. Registration is canceled if there’s no response to the notices, no votes are cast during the next four years and the voter’s address isn’t updated. “Ohio removes the registrants at issue on a permissible ground: change of residence,” said the 5-4 decision authored by Justice Samuel Alito. “The failure to return a notice and the failure to vote simply serve as evidence that a registrant has moved, not as the ground itself for removal.”
Editorials: Ohio’s voter purges were upheld by the Supreme Court. That doesn’t make them defensible. | Daniel Nichanian/NBC
Only 41 percent of registered voters went to the polls in Ohio’s 2014 general elections; the following year, just 43 percent voted. In the face of these abysmal rates, state officials should be focused on engaging the electorate and improving participation. But Ohio instead treats a failure to vote over such a two-year period as sufficient reason to trigger the process of removing someone from the voter rolls entirely. And on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that doing so was perfectly legal. Registered voters in the state who have not cast a ballot over two years are — and will continue to be — sent a notice by the local election board to confirm their registration. If they do not respond to the notice, and if they do not engage the electoral process over the following four years, they are purged from the voter registration lists.