Voter-purge efforts get support at U.S. high court session


The U.S. Supreme Court will decide on a Trump-backed OH voting rights policy that has disenfranchised thousands of American voters by using lists to purge names of those who vote infrequently.

The Supreme Court's ruling, due by the end of June, could affect the ability to vote for thousands of people ahead of November's midterm congressional elections.

Hee served tours of duty in Iraq in 2006-2007 during Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Afghanistan in 2009 during Operation Enduring Freedom. But when he came home in 2011, he found a battle he didn't expect.

Suppose that in the last two years, you didn't show up to vote.

"Honestly, I started crying".

HELLE:.In the state OH, came back home after defending that right and could not exercise it because of this archaic, bad policy.

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He said it might be more appropriate to use of driver's license and post office change-of-address information, non-forwardable mail, and databases that show whether people who have moved to other states. That's actually hard to say, particularly since Paul Smith did a creditable job of answering Breyer's concerns by showing evidence that most voters receiving notices like those mailed out by OH just toss them in the trash, making response or nonresponse irrelevant to the voter's actual residence. Registration is canceled if there's no response to the notices, no votes are cast during the next four years and the voter's address isn't updated. In 2016, more than 7,500 voters showed up at the polls and found their names missing, forcing them to vote a provisional ballot, OH elections officials said.

Now that President Trump has dissolved his shady voter fraud commission, a Supreme Court case being heard Wednesday represents fraud alarmists' next best chance to boost their voter purge campaigns. OH makes it easy, with an online system through which almost a half-million voters have updated their registrations. Because he had not voted in six years and did not return a warning notice, his most basic right was removed. Republicans have argued that they are trying to promote ballot integrity and prevent voter fraud.

"Your vote is your voice", the ACLU's Jennifer Bellamy said at a rally in the Court's marble plaza.

OH has a controversial practice of removing voters from the rolls who have not cast ballots in years, and an investigation by the Cincinnati Enquirer/USA Today Network found the practice of deleting and tracking voters was not uniform across Ohio's 88 counties.

'The Secretary is purging vast numbers of completely eligible voters just to try to target a small, tiny handful of people who may have moved'. But not close to 50 percent of Ohioans have moved - the number is much closer to 2 percent.

A Reuters study in 2016 found that at least 144,000 people were removed from the voting rolls in recent years in Ohio's three largest counties, which are home to Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. "We know that's wrong", U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from OH, said at the rally.

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Tellingly, four Republican commissioners from Trump's now-defunct commission are involved in legal briefs supporting OH in the case. Nobody in OH has expressed problems with this.

Ohio State University law professor Daniel Tokaji, co-counsel in the case, says there are ways for Ohio to keep it's voter rolls clean.

The plaintiffs include Larry Harmon, a software engineer and U.S. Navy veteran who was blocked from voting in a state marijuana initiative in 2015, and an advocacy group for the homeless. OH adopted the new purge scheme as part of settling that case.

Harmon says that after several years of not voting, he discovered he'd been removed in 2015. The 1993 act asks states to maintain voter lists by making a reasonable effort to remove the names of those who died or moved out of state.

In 2016, a federal appeals court expressed its agreement with ACLU's stance by deeming Ohio's purges unconstitutional.

Last August, the Justice Department under President Trump reversed the position it had taken under President Obama and filed a brief to support Ohio's case.

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If you live in OH, your failure to vote - for whatever reason - for two years would have triggered a process that could have resulted in your being purged from the state's voter rolls.