Supreme Court upholds Ohio's controversial 'voter purge'

BY SONNET SWIRE
Posted on AUG 13, 2019

Organizations that brought the case forward claimed the policy violates a federal law that bars states-from removing people from the voter rolls for failing to vote.

In a 5-4 decision on Monday, the Supreme Court upheld Ohio's "use it or lose it" policy, The Hill reports.

Under the state policy, voters who have not voted in two years are flagged and sent a confirmation notice. Those who fail to respond to the notice and don't vote within the next two years are removed from the rolls.
Critics claimed the policy violates a federal law that bars statesfrom removing people from the voter rolls for failing to vote, according to The Hill. However, a majority of the high court rejected that argument.

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, according to defense attornies.

Demos and the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of Ohio resident Larry Harmon and two other groups, argued the policy specifically targets minority and low-income people, two groups that traditionally have lower voter turnout.

The court's five conservative justices, led by Justice Samuel Alito, voted in the majority, with the court's four liberals, led by Justice Stephen Breyer, dissenting.

Six other states Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia use similar methods that target voters for removal from the rolls for not voting.

"Today's decision is a victory for election integrity, and a defeat for those who use the federal court system to make election law across the country," said Ohio's Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) in a statement