Supreme Court Upholds Ohio Rules for Purge of Voting Rolls

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The majority rejected the silly argument that because OH uses the absence of "voter activity" to trigger the removal process, it violates the requirement that a state purge "shall not result in the removal of the name of any person.by reason of the person's failure to vote".

Under the state law, voters who have not voted in two years are flagged and sent a confirmation notice.

Unlike many voting cases that come before the court, Monday's case centered not on grand constitutional principles but on interpreting seemingly contradictory directives of federal law.

The court voted 5-4 to uphold Ohio's current law, which allows the state to remove voters from its rolls who haven't voted for two years and haven't confirmed their eligibility, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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". In any case, I'm sticking with my original view: the OH law pushes right to the edge of what's legal under federal law, but it doesn't go beyond. OH does not run afoul of this prohibition because using non-voting to trigger the process is not the same thing as removing voters by reason of not voting.

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"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", Husted said. States can remove only someone who requests it, moves, dies, is convicted of a felony, or becomes mentally "incapacitated".

Conservatives on the Supreme Court on Monday upheld Ohio's method of purging voters from the rolls after they miss elections. The second law, the 2002 Help America Vote Act, directed the states to maintain a system to cull ineligible voters from their lists.

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, the Democratic candidate for Ohio Secretary of State, said in a statement that she was "deeply disappointed in this ruling" and urged Husted to "act with restraint". Such a trigger mechanism, according to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, constitutes removal "solely by reason of a failure to vote". Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion.

"We have no authority to second-guess Congress or to decide whether Ohio's [law] is the ideal method for keeping its voting rolls up to date", Alito wrote.

Ohio's removal process follows subsection (d) to the letter.

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For the five justices in the majority - Alito, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch - the extent to which Ohio's practice hews to subsection (d) was enough. The judge said IN, where 481,000 people have seen their registrations canceled since 2014, must contact voters to give them an opportunity to remain active.

So it might be off to the races for a new round of voter suppression, all justified by a yet-to-be-documented risk of voter fraud, and a new burden for beleaguered voting-rights activists who must now focus on educating vulnerable communities on how to avoid or mitigate purges.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.

"Today's Supreme Court decision will allow the secretary of state to continue carrying out his constitutional responsibility, in accordance with OH law, to maintain accurate voter rolls", LaRose said in a statement. If they do, or if they show up to vote over the next four years, voters remain registered.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Republican, praised the court's decision.

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