State voter rules are reasonable

An Architect of the Capitol employee shovels snow in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Jan. 4 2018

The Supreme Court hinted it may allow states more flexibility to remove registered voters from state rolls during a lively argument on Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union charges that the state disenfranchises voters by canceling their registrations after they are inactive for six years.

A federal appeals court panel in Cincinnati split 2-1 past year in ruling that Ohio's process is illegal.

On Wednesday, the Court will hear oral arguments in his case, which challenges Ohio's practice of "purging" people from its voter rolls for inactivity.

Justices Elana Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor tag teamed in grilling Ohio Solicitor General Eric E. Murphy on whether Ohio's procedure discriminates against people who find it hard to vote and those who decide not to vote as a First Amendment issue. But it's fair to ask why they didn't respond when the secretary of state's office asked whether they had moved, or respond to any of the other routine notices registered voters receive yearly? Rather, a voter is removed well after they fail to return a confirmation notice.

In addition to OH, six U.S. states have drawn up plans to purge their voter lists: Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. "Ohio makes voting a "use it or lose it" right by targeting people who choose to vote infrequently and kicking them off the rolls".

Helle said he was trying to vote in a special election on a local school levy in August 2011 when poll workers could not find his name and had him cast a provisional ballot. His local elections board said it has no record that Helle voted while he was away. 7,515 voters removed pursuant to the policy cast provisional ballots in the 2016 presidential election.

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Nonvoters puzzle me. That said, the idea that a person has to vote in order to vote seems problematic. "Choosing not to vote is as important as choosing to vote". If they do not respond to the mailer, and don't vote within the next four years, they are removed from the voter rolls. "It's one way to say, I do not believe in what's going on here, or in either candidate, for instance".

The government of the United States ought to be alarmed by what OH is attempting to do, but after decades of blocking various states' attempts to purge its voting rolls in like manner, the current Department of Justice has done a 180 and endorsed such purges. Kennedy often swings a decision that splits the conservative and liberal-leaning justices.

Opponents of the OH process say federal law prohibits using voting inactivity to trigger purges. "And in these cases that they've brought or threatened to bring, they want counties or states to adopt that as a practice". The Reuters report notes, "In the state's three largest counties that include Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, voters have been struck from the rolls in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods at roughly twice the rate as in Republican neighborhoods". In two other cases, the justices are examining whether electoral districts drawn by Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin and Democratic lawmakers in Maryland were fashioned to entrench the majority party in power in a manner that violated the constitutional rights of voters. "We need a little help from the voter", Husted said.

Ohio's system of elections is once again under national scrutiny, this time for the way in which voter rolls are kept up to date. But not everyone who moves notifies the post office, the state said. "Under federal law, not voting isn't sufficient to get you purged from the rolls and denied the right to vote".

Larry Harmon, an OH resident and plaintiff in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, expressed similar reasons for not voting.

The Supreme Court's ruling, due by the end of June, could affect the ability to vote for thousands of people ahead of November's midterm congressional elections.

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