Ohio’s Voter Roll Purge Headed For Supreme Court Review

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging Ohio’s removal of inactive voters from state voter rolls Tuesday, precipitating another conflict over voting rights between federal courts and GOP-led states.

Ohio’s policy allows registered voters to be removed from the voter rolls over a six year period. If an individual does not cast a ballot over a two year period, the state begins a supplemental review process, under which the voter has four years to take some action to confirm their status as an Ohio voter. If the individual takes no action during this period, they are removed from the state’s voter roll.

The individual is at liberty to re-register at any time after removal from the voter registry. State officials say the policy is necessary to ensure the voter rolls remain current, and that individuals who have died or moved out of state are removed from the registry.

A coalition of civil rights group led by the Philip Randolph Institute challenged the policy, arguing that it disproportionately disenfranchises the homeless and minority voters. A 2016 Reuters analysis found that Democratic voters were removed from the state’s rolls at a much faster clip than Republicans in the state’s three largest counties.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the policy violates the National Voter Registration Act, the so-called motor voter law.

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