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States can drop nonvoters from voting rolls, Supreme Court rules

12 June, 2018, 02:48 | Author: Lucille Rivera
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"Registrants who have not responded to a notice and who have not voted in 2 consecutive general elections for Federal office shall be removed from the official list of eligible voters", according to the NVRA, "except that no registrant may be removed exclusively by reason of a failure to vote".

"Communities that are disproportionately affected by unnecessarily harsh registration laws should not tolerate efforts to marginalize their influence in the political process, nor should allies who recognize blatant unfairness stand idly by", added Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

Naifeh indicated that both the Voting Rights Act, which bans election laws that are racially discriminatory in their intent or effect, as well as the National Voter Registration Act, which requires that voter registration list maintenance policies be "nondiscriminatory", could be legal bases for future challenges to voter purges.

That act prevents states from canceling voter registrations exclusively because those registered do not show up to vote. "It does not", Alito said.

"On the one hand dramatically increasing the number of voters on the voter rolls but, on the other, giving states the flexibility they need to manage the issues that arise when you have over-inflated voter rolls", the Trump administration lawyer Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in a court brief.

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

The lawsuit was brought against Georgia's purge protocol - which is similar to Ohio's, but sends the mailers to voters after three years of no voter activity.

Civil rights groups have fought against the voting measure, arguing that it discourages minority turnout.

But Ohio's law was considered the harshest in the nation because it kick-started the purging process after only two years.

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In his own statement, Husted said he hoped the ruling would give other states a path toward purging duplicate or obsolete registrations. The dissenters said it could result in thousands of infrequent voters losing their right to vote.

A decision upholding Ohio's law will pave the way for more aggressive vote-purging efforts in OH and other states, said Dale Ho, who heads the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project.

But in recent years, some purges have been viewed through a more partisan lens. The Pew Center on the States estimated in a 2012 report that 2.75 million Americans are registered in more than one state.

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. 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. "The only question before us", Alito made clear, is whether the practice "violates federal law".

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Ohio's method of removing names from its voter rolls does not violate federal law.

The decision said that as long as the trigger for sending voter removal notices is "uniform, nondiscriminatory, and in compliance with the Voting Rights Act". If there was a clearly, solidly established presumption in favor of the right to vote and a difficult set of obstacles for would-be vote suppressors to overcome, decisions like this would be hard to write.

After a Florida voter is placed on inactive status, he or she can be removed, or moved to ineligible status, after not updating their record, asking for a mail ballot or not voting in two presidential elections after being declared inactive.

The Crosscheck program, which involves 26 states around the country, has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years as some states accuse it of improperly flagging eligible voters.

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