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States can purge voters who don't vote or respond to warnings

States can purge voters who don't vote or respond to warnings

By a 5-4 vote that split the conservative and liberal justices, the court rejected arguments in a case from OH that the practice violates a federal law meant to increase the ranks of registered voters.

"We are now only 5 months from our next federal election and any rush now to remove a backlog of up to 589,000 voters that he has marked for purging will be extremely disruptive and unfair to OH voters", Clyde wrote.

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.

In a decision by Justice Samuel Alito, the court emphasized that subsection (d) of the NVRA specifically allows states to remove a voter who "has failed to respond to a notice" and "has not voted or appeared to vote".

The dissenters included Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. The state appealed to the Supreme Court.

In Florida, voters are moved from active to inactive status if they do not vote in two consecutive general elections and if they don't return a postage prepaid confirmation notice.

Earlier this year I was pondering whether Ohio's voter removal law was legal.

"Alito made clear, states can't discriminate in their voter purge practices and we've begun putting together evidence that practices like Ohio's, including in OH, do have a discriminatory impact", Stuart Naifeh, the senior counsel for Demos, which challenged the OH law, said on the call.

Several other states that use the failure to vote as a trigger in efforts to cleanse their registration rolls could be affected by the high court's decision in the OH case, including Georgia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.

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"This decision is validation of Ohio's efforts to clean up the voter rolls and now with the blessing (of the) nation's highest court, it can serve as a model for other states to use", Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said.

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen after the court revived Ohio's contentious policy of purging infrequent voters from its registration rolls, overturning a lower court ruling that Ohio's policy violated the National Voter Registration Act, in Washington, U.S., June 11, 2018. President Donald Trump's administration also supported Ohio's position.

But she said she anxious that advocates of more restrictive voting policies might see the decision as an opening to further crack down on inactive voters.

Opponents of Ohio's voter purge practice said federal law prohibits citizens from being penalized just for the failure to vote.

"Voters should not be purged from the rolls simply because they have exercised their right not to vote", he said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) described the court ruling as a "setback for voting rights".

One of the lead plaintiffs was U.S. Navy veteran Larry Harmon, who was blocked from voting in a 2015 marijuana-legalization initiative.

Although he joined the majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate concurring opinion expressing his belief that states have broad leeway under the Constitution to set their own voter qualifications.