Published: Mon, June 11, 2018

Supreme Court Upholds Ohio Rules for Canceling Voter Registration

Supreme Court Upholds Ohio Rules for Canceling Voter Registration

Several other states that use the failure to vote as a trigger in efforts to cleanse their registration rolls could be affected by the high court's decision in the OH case, including Georgia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.

OH state officials argued that the practice is an attempt to keep the list of registered voters up to date, removing people, for example, who have moved to another state.

"No other state has a practice as ham-handed and draconian as Ohio's", the League of Women Voters argued in a brief in the case. The second law, the 2002 Help America Vote Act, directed the states to maintain a system to cull ineligible voters from their lists.

Republican President Donald Trump's administration backed OH, reversing the stance taken by Democratic former President Barack Obama's administration against the policy.

The case was sparked when OH resident and Navy veteran Larry Harmon went to go vote in 2015, but found he had been purged from the rolls. Judge Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, said those backing Harmon were doing so based on policy preferences, not the law. Republicans are calling for stepped-up efforts to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats say that push is a thinly veiled campaign to stop liberals and minorities from casting ballots.

The process is one of two methods state officials use to identify voters who are no longer eligible to vote due to a change of residence. "The only question before us is whether it violates federal law". Many states over the decades had erected to voting, sometimes targeting black voters.

The US Supreme Court sided with the OH in a case over whether or not the state has the right to cull voters from registers if they go too long without casting a ballot.

The Supreme Court said that's allowed under the 1993 "motor voter" law.


A 2016 Reuters analysis found roughly twice the rate of voter purging in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods in Ohio's three largest counties as in Republican-leaning neighborhoods.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) described the court ruling as a "setback for voting rights".

The case concerned Larry Harmon, a software engineer and Navy veteran who lives near Akron, Ohio.

Demos attorney Stuart Naifeh criticized the ruling.

It is the kind of 5-4 decision that shows why it mattered that Mitch McConnell kept Merrick Garland off the Supreme Court so that GOP appointee Neil Gorsuch was able to occupy Antonin Scalia's seat.

OH has sent more than 3 million notices of address confirmation since 2011, when Husted became Secretary of State.

The dissenters included Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. But not everyone who moves notifies the post office, the state said.

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