Supreme Court rules in favor of OH 'voter purge'

Supreme Court rules in favor of OH 'voter purge'

The administration of former president Barack Obama had opposed Ohio's process of purging voters, but Donald Trump's administration threw its support behind the midwestern state. "The only question before us is whether it violates federal law", wrote Samuel Alito, referring to the 1993 Voter Registration Act. As the New York Times explains, federal law forbids removing people from registration rolls because of a failure to vote, but it gives state officials leeway to drop voters who they think have moved.

Democrats have accused Republicans of taking steps at the state level, including laws requiring certain types of government-issued identification, meant to suppress the vote of minorities, poor people and others who generally favor Democratic candidates. Many states over the decades had erected to voting, sometimes targeting black voters.

The Supreme Court gave the state of OH a decisive victory Monday, ruling the state is allowed to aggressively purge seemingly inactive voters from voting rolls - a practice civil rights groups have fought against.

Civil rights groups said the court should be focused on making it easier for people to vote, not allowing states to put up roadblocks to casting ballots.

Supreme Court rules in favor of OH 'voter purge'

She argued that the ruling from the conservative justices "entirely ignores the history of voter suppression against which the NVRA was enacted and upholds a program that appears to further the very disenfranchisement of minority and low-income voters that Congress set out to eradicate".

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who's running as the Republican candidate for governor, issued a statement applauding the Supreme Court's decision for showing "that Ohio was following federal law in maintaining accurate voter rolls".

"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", Reuters wrote in their report. One of the lead plaintiffs was software engineer and U.S. Navy veteran Larry Harmon, who was registered but blocked from voting in a 2015 marijuana-legalization initiative. The state appealed to the Supreme Court. Most of the states that backed OH have Republican governors or legislatures; most of those opposed are governed by Democrats. During oral argument in January, Paul Smith, the lawyer for those challenging the law, said "most of the people who are purged have not moved".

The majority pushed back against Justice Stephen Breyer's dissent, which was joined by Sotomayor and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

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