US top court backs OH voter purge; Democrats blast ruling

Supreme Court decides case on purging voter registration rolls

The ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday that upheld the OH law that allows voters to be purged from the rolls if they haven't cast ballots in six years angered Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

By a 5-4 vote that split the conservative and liberal justices, the court rejected arguments in a case from OH that the practice violates a federal law meant to increase the ranks of registered voters.

An Ohio voter and two interest groups said the procedure violates the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, more commonly known as the Motor Voter law.

Queen said Kentucky has properly removed almost half a million voters since 2011. He was joined by his four conservative colleagues.

Half a dozen other states have similar practices. If the voter doesn't respond to the notice, update his address or registration information or perform an election activity, such as voting or signing a state ballot measure petition within four years, the voter's registration is canceled.

Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters, said the Supreme Court "got this one wrong".

OH said it only uses the process after first comparing its voter lists with U.S. Postal Service lists of changed addresses, but not everyone who moves notifies the post office.

OH is perennially a battleground state in presidential elections and has given its electoral votes to the eventual victor in 28 of the last 30 elections.

"Our democracy rests on the ability of all individuals, regardless of race, income, or status, to exercise their right to vote", Sotomayor wrote. And of course, they're all red states.

Minnesota voters needn't worry about having their names purged from voter registration rolls, even if the nation's highest court says it's OK.

Under the OH regime, voters who don't vote in a two-year federal election cycle are sent mailers asking that they confirm they still reside where they are registered to vote.

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Breyer argued that the state's process violated the statute's prohibition against removing a voter from the rolls "by reason of the person's failure to vote".

OH purges its voter rolls more aggressively than any other state.

It also means that the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which was created to encourage greater participation in our democracy, has been significantly weakened. It involves a dizzying web of federal legal provisions governing how states may - and, in some cases, must - maintain their voter registration laws.

Justice Stephen Breyer, countered in his dissent: "In my view, Ohio's program does just that".

Alito said that the two factors show that OH "does not strike any registrant exclusively by reason of the failure to vote".

In September 2016, a federal appeals court ruled against OH, saying that 7,515 ballots that had been struck could be cast in the that fall's election.

The case is Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Husted said that OH wants to "make it easy to vote and hard to cheat".

The question for the court was whether failing to vote could be the initial trigger leading to removal.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton noted on a video posted Monday that it was his organization's lawsuit that prompted OH to get more aggressive in purging ineligible voters in the first place.

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