By Robert Barnes
WASHINGTON - Conservatives on the Supreme Court on Monday upheld Ohio’s method of purging voters from the rolls after they miss elections.
The court ruled 5 to 4 that Ohio’s process does not violate federal law. The dissenters said it could result in thousands of infrequent voters losing their right to vote.
Unlike many voting cases that come before the court, Wednesday’s case centered not on grand constitutional principles but on interpreting seemingly contradictory directives of federal law.
Beyond the prohibition on removing voters because they failed to vote, the law calls on states to keep accurate rolls and allows removal when a person fails to respond to a request to confirm registration and then fails to vote in two federal elections.
Ohio sends a notice after a voter skips a single federal election cycle. If they fail to respond and do not vote in the next four years, their names are removed from the rolls.
Justice Samuel Alito said the court’s job was not to decide whether Ohio has adopted the “ideal method” for keeping rolls up to date, but only whether it complies with federal law.
The case is Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute.