WASHINGTON D.C. – An Ohio law that allows the state to strike voters from registration rolls based on certain conditions was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.
The law, which allows the state to strike voters from the roll who do not return a mailed address confirmation form and don’t vote for another four years (or two federal elections).
The law was upheld by a thin 5-4 margin in the Supreme Court. In the court’s opinion, delivered by Justice Samuel Alito, said that the case presents a question of statutory interpretation, not a question of policy.
“We have no authority to second-guess congress or to decide whether Ohio’s supplemental process is the ideal method for keeping its voting rolls up to date,” Alito said. “The only question before us is whether it violates federal law. It does not.”
U.S. Senator from Ohio Sherrod Brown disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision this week.
“Ohio should be working to make voting easier, not harder,” said Brown. “Instead, [this] decision empowers Ohio to further strip away the right to vote for thousands of Ohioans, threatening the integrity of our state’s election process. This ruling further shows why we can’t afford to pack our federal courts with judges who have a track record of hostility towards Ohioans’ most basic right.”
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who is running for governor this year, agreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“I am pleased that the United States Supreme Court agreed that Ohio was following federal law in maintaining accurate voter rolls. I congratulate our attorneys throughout this case for their exceptional work in documenting how this process, used by Democrat and Republican secretaries of state, is indeed lawful.”
Richard Cordray, who is also running for governor in Ohio, said the Supreme Court’s decision would continue to allow aggressive voter roll purges in Ohio.
“[The decision] is not unexpected,” said Cordray. ““But saying that something can be done is not the same as saying it should be done. The right to vote is vital to our democracy. We need to focus on making the right to vote more accessible to Ohioans, not on taking it away. This November, Ohioans have to decide if they want four more years of Jon Husted and Mike DeWine’s assault on voting rights. I for one, have had enough.”
Voter registration laws will remain the same for Ohio voters, so no action is required on the voters’ part. The registration deadline for the November general election is in October.