Supreme Court Opens Door to More Red-State Voter Purges

13 Junio, 2018, 13:41 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito writing for the majority in the 5-4 decision said Ohio's disputed process of purging voters who may have moved met the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act. The decision came under immediate critici

The U.S. Supreme Court gave states more power to purge their voting databases of people who haven't cast ballots recently, upholding an OH system that could become a model for other Republican-controlled states.

Under federal laws enacted in 1993 and 2002, states can not remove voters from registration lists due to their failure to vote.

The plaintiffs in the case, Husted v A. Philip Randolph Institute, challenged the OH law arguing it violated the National Voter Registration Act. Voters are not notified when their registration is removed.

Justice Breyer wrote the main dissent, which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.

If the projections in the NBC report are anywhere near accurate, as many as a dozen more states will be looking at passing similar laws now that the Supremes have weighed in. "You need something more than just differential stats", Levitt, a former top official in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said in a telephone interview with TPM.

OH law allows the state to send address confirmation notices to voters who have not engaged in voter activity for two years.

Alito wrote that an estimated 24 million voter registrations in the United States are either invalid or significantly inaccurate, encompassing about 1 in 8 voters.

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

While much of the nation's attention is on how Donald Trump is sabotaging America overseas, his Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch used his stolen seat to cast the deciding vote in a 5-4 decision damaging our democracy here at home.

OH is already encouraging other states to follow its lead.

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Justice Samuel Alito said for the court that OH is complying with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. In recent years, the courts blocked states from verifying the citizenship status of individuals registering to vote.

"Today's decision threatens the ability of voters to have their voices heard in our elections", he said in a statement.

Under the process, OH voters who haven't cast a ballot in two years get a notice from the state asking them to verify they are eligible to vote. People who fail to respond and don't vote for another four years trigger an additional mechanism that results in their removal.

If voters do not reply to the mailing, they are put on an inactive roll, but are still allowed to vote. What's more, he added, the state also keeps voters on the rolls if they take nonvoting actions like filling out a voter registration form or signing a petition. Justice Samuel Alito, in an opinion joined by the other four conservatives on the court, wrote that OH had followed the procedure laid out in the NVRA "to the letter". If voters don't respond and don't vote in the next two general elections, they could be removed from the voter rolls.

It's considered one of the stricter laws in the nation, but it's not unique.

Justice Breyer wrote a dissent that, as Justice Alito points out, has lots to do with his disagreement with Congress about the wisdom of reliance on the returning a card, and little to do with the law Congress passed.

The Supreme Court issued a decision today in Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute, a case involving Ohio's voter list maintenance policies.

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.

But Alito said OH "takes an intermediate approach".

The Trump administration, reversing positions from the Obama administration, agreed with Ohio's interpretation of the federal law. When he showed up to vote in 2015, he was told he was no longer allowed, even though he had not changed his residence or otherwise become ineligible.



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