Health Care

Mayor and Army vet challenges OH voter purge process

Mayor and Army vet challenges OH voter purge process

The NVRA said no voter could be purged in the four years after they register.

Eric Murphy, the OH solicitor general, faced sharp questions on Wednesday from Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor over the process.

The Supreme Court heard oral argument today in a challenge to a practice that OH uses to maintain its voter-registration lists.

The American Civil Liberties Union of OH and the New York-based public advocacy group Demos sued Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted over the practice.

As Ari Berman wrote in The Nation after the Court took the case, "From 2011 to 2016, OH purged 2 million voters from the rolls-1.2 million for infrequent voting-more than any other state". Kennedy's vote often is decisive in voting cases that otherwise split conservative and liberal justices.

Sotomayor pressed Murphy on the consequences the OH process would have, particularly on poor and minority populations.

A decision upholding Ohio's law would pave the way for more aggressive vote purging efforts in OH and other states, while the law's elimination would "send a strong signal that the federal government and the National Voter Registration Act place important limits on what states can and can't do with their voter rolls", says Dale Ho, who heads the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project. Seven states use a process similar to Ohio's, so potentially millions of voters around the country will be affected by the court's decision.

"When I was in the Army, I didn't have time to worry about voting at home or absentee ballots, anything of that sort because I was an airborne infantryman, a parachutist, war fighter", Helle said.

"Voters have been struck from the rolls in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods at roughly twice the rate as in Republican neighborhoods", the study found. "Neighborhoods that have a high proportion of poor, African-American residents are hit the hardest". Employing such technologies not only provides a more secure and effective means of protection against voter fraud, to the extent that it exists, they also protect against external hacking and violations of integrity in a way that many current techniques do not. Basically, Ohio voters who don't vote in a two-year period can eventually be removed from registration rolls, depending on certain circumstances.




"Not a question of what we think would be the ideal system for achieving the result of removing people who have moved from the voter lists", Alito said. The veteran says he does not remember receiving the notice, so he did not return it-and thus he was removed from the voter registration lists. If a voter does not respond to that single mailing and does not vote for the next four years, the voter is automatically removed from the state's voter rolls. The state was sued after the 2015 elections, when those who had not voted since Barack Obama's dramatic victory in 2008 discovered they no longer were registered. "There's a 24-year history of solicitor generals under both parties taking positions contrary to yours", she told Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who argued for the United States government. It "seems quite unusual that your office would change its position so dramatically", she said sternly. She questioned whether failing to respond to a notice and not voting from the state was really enough evidence to indicate a voter had moved and might be ineligible. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the state to count those votes.

But he said a reexamination of the issue within the Trump administration convinced him that Congress intended states could use the failure to vote as a trigger for a broader process.

"There might be surveys about how many people throw everything in the wastebasket", Breyer said.

Later, questioning Smith about Ohio's procedure, Alito said: "Does it say the failure to vote is a ground for removal, or does it say that moving out of the district is a ground for removal, and failure to vote plays a part in the determination of whether a person has moved out of the district?" OH said he was sent a notice, but he says he didn't get it. This term, it faces cases from Wisconsin and Maryland challenging what opponents claim were election maps drawn by state legislators for purely partisan gain. The justice said the case might come down to an "empirical question" about exactly what happens when the notices are mailed.

OH says its policy is legal, as voter inactivity is not the proximate process of removal.

"Five years ago, most of the fight was about voter ID and early voting cutbacks and new requirements for registration, things you have to pass a state law in order to change", Ho told Salon.

Beginning on January 10, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Husted v.

Ohio's purge policy is the harshest in the nation.


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