The purge is upon us. In a move that the political left and social justice warriors will not be too happy about the Supreme Court of the United States revived a highly controversial policy in the Republican state of Ohio that will allow infrequent voters to be removed from voter registration rolls. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor was not enough to stop the Supreme Court from making this ruling. While she denounced it as being an endorsement of the disenfranchisement of minorities and people of low income the decision was ultimately decided in a tight vote that ended 5 to 4. This ruling is an important victory for those of us on the right, because now we have legal precedent on our side.
When they first tried to legalize the purge in the state of Ohio a lower court gave the political left the victory when they decided that Ohio’s purge policy violated the National Voter Registration Act. The National Voter Registration Act was passed in 1993 back when President Clinton was in his first term. The federal law would not allow voters in the United States to be removed from registration rolls for failing to vote. Voters were able to successfully challenge the policy when Ohio first tried to pass it after they argued that the practice illegally removed thousands of voters from registration rolls and unfairly impacted minorities and poor people who traditionally placed their support behind the Democrats.
The state of Ohio successfully took the case to the Supreme Court after the lower courts did not side with them. They were able to gain the backing of the Supreme Court when the state argued that the purge was a necessary policy that was needed in order to keep the voting rolls up to date while clearing out the names of voters who have died or moved out of the state. Under the new policy that the Supreme Court approved of Monday if a registered voter fails to vote two years in a row they will be sent a letter of confirmation. If the voter does not respond to the letter of confirmation and chooses not to vote during the following four years they will find their names purged from the list.
Former President Barack Obama did not support the purge when Ohio first tried to put it into action, however our current President, Donald Trump, has given the state of Ohio his full support on this measure.
Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted spoke in favor of the new policy when he said, “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.”
On behalf of the majority who voted in favor of the state of Ohio when the Supreme Court decided in favor of the state, Justice Samuel Alito let it be known that the Supreme Court was not saying that the purge was the ideal way for states across the nation to keep their voting rolls up to date. Their only concern was whether or not it was a violation of federal law. They clearly do not feel that the purge is a violation of the federal law or the Supreme Court would have backed the ruling of the lower courts.
Democrats who oppose the purge have accused Republicans of taking measures at the state level, including but not limited to laws that make it a requirement for people to possess certain types of government issued identification, with the intention of suppressing minority votes. Democrats have taken to calling the purge the use it or lose it policy and feel that it is in clear violation of a voters legal rights to decide when to and when not to vote. It should be noted that this new policy impacts voters no matter what their political side may be. It is a common practice for many voters to not vote at all when they do not like either candidate.
When the National Voter Registration Act was passed back in 1993 it was intended to register. Over the years many states had erected to voting, sometimes targeting minority voters.
Justice Sotomayer who tried to prevent the Supreme Court from siding with the State of Ohio said, “the ruling “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. Communities that are disproportionately affected by unnecessarily harsh registration laws should not tolerate efforts to marginalize their influence in the political process, nor should allies who recognize blatant unfairness stand idly by.”
When Reuters took a close look at the situation in Ohio in 2016 they determined that twice as many people in Democratic leaning neighborhoods in Ohio’s three largest counties as in Republican leaning communities would be purged from the voter registration rolls.
Challengers of the purge were represented by liberal advocacy group Demos and the American Civil Liberties Union when they sued Husted in 2016 in an attempt to stop the purge from ever taking place. One of the challengers was a man named Larry Harmon. He was a veteran who served our country in the United States navy who was blocked from voting in a 2015 marijuana legalization initiative.
Stuart Naifeh, the attorney representing the challengers of the purge said, “if states take today’s decision as a sign that they can be even more reckless and kick eligible voters off the rolls, we will fight back in the courts, the legislatures and with our community partners across the country.”
It was the ruling of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in 2016 that forced the state of Ohio’s hand and made them take it to the Supreme Court after the lower court blocked their purge policy. If the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals based in Cincinatti, Ohio had sided with the state of Ohio back in 2016 more than 7,500 voters would have been banned from casting a vote in the last presidential election.
Another Justice who disagreed with todays ruling by the Supreme Court, Stephen Breyer said, “using a registrant’s failure to vote is not a reasonable method for identifying voters whose registrations are likely invalid.” He did not feel that notices sent out to people from the state were a reliable way of determining if someone had moved or died since a lot of Americans do not respond to letters sent to them by the government.
Out of six states that remove voters from their voter registration rolls for failure to vote at the present moment Ohio is the aggressive.
Following the ruling on May 21 that allows companies to require their employees to sign away their ability to bring class action claims against management, todays Supreme Court ruling marks the second time in the last three weeks that the Supreme Court has sided with the Trump administration and its supporters.