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Supreme Court could uphold OH voter purge effort

Supreme Court could uphold OH voter purge effort

"Yesterday, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging, as unlawful, Ohio's process for removal of voters from the rolls". This case is the second voting rights case the Supreme Court will hear this term.

Lawyers for the ACLU and other civil rights groups said the state rules disproportionately affect minority and low-income voters. 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.

Republican-led OH is one of a handful of states that use voters' inactivity to trigger a process that could lead to their removal from voter rolls. A ruling for OH could prompt other states to adopt the practice, which generally pits Democrats against Republicans.

Michael A. Carvin, an attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of the Cleveland law firm Jones, Day who has filed legal papers defending Ohio's system, said that "you can't knock somebody off the voter rolls exclusively for failure to vote. What we're talking about are the best tools to implement that reason, to implement that goal". She noted that millions of voters typically sit out the midterm elections but vote in presidential election years.Last year, the Justice Department under President Donald Trump switched its position in the OH case. Seven states are using a process similar to Ohio's, so millions of voters around the country are potentially affected by the Court's decision. A federal appeals court sided with the challengers.

Voting has become an increasingly partisan issue in the last decade, with Republicans arguing for stricter standards for registering and casting a ballot and Democrats preferring to make the process easier for citizens.

"It turns out that system is purging lots and lots of people who are fully qualified to vote, (and) who have registered to vote", Saphire said. For this reason, the state argues they can legally claim a voter's lack of response as legitimate reason to purge their voter registration.

Under Ohio's process, failure to vote is just one factor that leads to a voter being removed from the rolls, Murphy said.

Smith responded by noting the federal government keeps records of people who died and that when people move they update their address with the state motor vehicle agency and the post office.

Harmon, who said he does not recall receiving a notice from the state, was taken by surprise when told he was no longer registered to vote in 2015.

If the voter responds to any of those notices - or votes even once during that four years - they remain registered. If they do nothing, their names eventually fall off the list of registered voters.

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The partially burnt body of 20-year-old has been positively identified by family members as Siam Lee , KwaZulu-Natal police said. North police are appealing to members of the community to assist in locating the man in the embedded picture (see below).

Last August, the Justice Department under President Trump reversed the position it had taken under President Obama and filed a brief to support Ohio's case.

Sotomayor questioned Solicitor General Noel Francisco at length about the switch.

Civil rights groups contend that a decision for OH would have widespread implications because it would fuel a broader effort to make it more hard and costly to vote.

But the amendment demonstrates that failure to vote can play a role in the purging process, Ohio State Solicitor Eric Murphy, Columbus, Ohio, told the justices.

Justice Stephen Breyer seemed sympathetic to the state's need to maintain accurate rolls, pressing Paul Smith, the lawyer for the plaintiffs challenging the OH law, on what processes states could use to reasonably identify people who had moved. But that's way more people than the 3 percent that have actually moved, Smith said.

This process runs afoul of the NVRA's prohibition on purging voters "by reason of the person's failure to vote", challengers say.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla released the following statement after oral arguments in the Supreme Court in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph. The state says it removes names only after local election boards send notices and there's no subsequent voting activity for the next four years.

There is no law against not voting, and there should not be a punishment, say lawyers with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Americans have a right to not vote.

Mayor Joe Helle of Oak Harbor, Ohio, who was dropped from the rolls while serving in the U.S. Army, confronted Husted on the court's plaza. Helle, a Democrat, called Ohio's process "archaic" and "terrible policy".


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