Voter Purging and the Supreme Court

Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, a challenge to Ohio’s scheme for purging people who haven’t voted recently from the voter rolls.  Under Ohio’s current law, if a person does not vote in a two-year period, they are mailed a notice to verify or correct their address. If they do not respond to the mailer, and don’t vote within the next four years, they are removed from the voter rolls. The process was adopted in 2012 after the state settled a lawsuit by conservative groups pushing Ohio to more aggressively purge its voter rolls. Voting rights advocates challenged the new scheme in court, and the Supreme Court is now taking it up after an appeals court ruled against Ohio.

Voting rights advocates fear that a ruling in favor of Ohio’s system will be used by voter fraud alarmists to pressure other states to more aggressively kick voters off the rolls. “They want the ability to use non-voting to remove people,” Demos senior counsel Stuart Naifeh, who is representing the Ohio challengers, told TPM.  “And in these cases that they’ve brought or threatened to bring, they want counties or states to adopt that as a practice.” Four Republican commissioners from Trump’s now-defunct “voter fraud” commission are involved in legal briefs supporting Ohio in the case. Trump’s Justice Department is also backing Ohio, a reversal from the Obama administration’s position.

 

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