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The Supreme Court issued a decision today in Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute, a case involving Ohio’s voter list maintenance policies. By a 5-4 vote, the Court upheld Ohio’s policy of removing ineligible and outdated voters from it rolls. The majority concluded that the practice under challenge – which cancels the registration of voters who do not go to the polls and who don’t respond to a notice – does not violate the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) and the Help America Vote Act.
This is a major victory for election integrity. As the majority (per Justice Alito) noted, it is estimated that roughly one in eight voter registrations is “either invalid or significantly inaccurate” and that 2.75 million people are registered to vote in more than one state.
Court - Decision - NVRA - States - Change
The Court’s decision is clearly correct. The NVRA specifically allows states to remove, on change of residence grounds, a registered would-be voter who does not vote, who then fails to respond to a notice, and who then fails to vote in any election during the period covering the next two general federal elections. As Justice Alito explained, the Ohio practice at issue “follows the [NVRA] to the letter,” it being “undisputed that Ohio does not remove a registrant on change-of-residence grounds unless the registrant is sent, and fails to mail back a return card, and then fails to vote for an additional four years.”
The majority rejected the silly argument that because Ohio uses the absence of “voter activity” to trigger the removal process, it violates the requirement that a state purge “shall not result in the removal of the name of any person . . . by reason of the person’s failure to vote.” Ohio does not run afoul of this prohibition because using non-voting to trigger the process is...
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