Are Republicans Violating Your Right Not to Vote?

Are Republicans Violating Your Right Not to Vote?

Are Republicans Violating Your Right Not to Vote?

Breyer elaborated after Kennedy said OH wanted to protect voter rolls from people who move and vote in the wrong district, report the New York Times, the Washington Post and SCOTUSblog.

"This law was enacted in the face of overwhelming evidence that restrictions on registration have a direct impact on who votes and who doesn't", Tokaji said.

Sotomayor also said people have a "right not to vote".

Justice Stephen Breyer hinted he might join his more conservative colleagues in voting to uphold an OH system that uses non-voting as a factor in deciding which people to remove from the rolls.

Murphy, arguing on behalf of OH, said that "around eight" states use failure to vote as the trigger for sending a notice that will eventually lead to voters being purged. A ruling from the high court backing OH could embolden states to adopt more aggressive voting procedures.

As Ari Berman wrote in The Nation after the Court took the case, "From 2011 to 2016, OH purged 2 million voters from the rolls-1.2 million for infrequent voting-more than any other state".

All of the U.S. Supreme Court justices - or at least the seven that spoke on Wednesday - seemed to agree that voting can not be a "use it or lose it" right.

Passed by Congress in 1993, this law and its subsequent amendment in the Help America Vote Act of 2002 prohibit states from snipping people from their voter registration rolls "solely" because they did not vote.

The case is the latest episode in a nationwide partisan war over ballot access. Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to suppress votes from minorities and poorer people who tend to vote for Democrats. Rather, they argued, the critical factor was whether or not voters responded to the notice sent to them, the absence of a response constituting "the sole proximate cause of removal".

When Paul Smith, the lawyer for voting rights groups opposing OH, said state election officials' method of sending notices to people who haven't voted "tells you nearly nothing" because 70% are not returned, Breyer shot back, "What are they supposed to do?"

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That issue formed the majority of Smith's time at the lectern, with Smith arguing that the state not receiving the notice back tells "nothing" about whether the person moved.

As a direct result of Ohio's Supplemental Process, countless voters who remain fully eligible to vote are stripped of their most fundamental right. If the notice is ignored and the voter fails to update a registration over the next four years, the registration is canceled. She noted that voters who did not return the mailers were immediately put on the inactive list, meaning they would not receive the notices active voters received about their polling places and upcoming elections.

On January 10 th, the US Supreme Court will listen to arguments on Ohio's methods to clear up its voter rolls. "It's quite unusual your office would change its position so dramatically". A dozen mainly Democratic states also want the Supreme Court to declare that Ohios system violates federal law.

"Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and it is much too important to treat as a "use it or lose it" right", said Stuart Naifeh, a voting rights lawyer with liberal advocacy group Demos, which is representing plaintiffs challenging Ohio's policy along with the American Civil Liberties Union. When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit said the law could not be enforced in the November 2016 elections, at least 7,500 voters participated who would have otherwise been ineligible. A process in which a state began a purging process based on returned undeliverable mail in addition to not voting for a period of three our four years would be more acceptable, he conceded, because the undeliverable mailing would provide the state with some kind of concrete evidence someone may have moved.

The Randolph Institute argues OH is looking at its voter-registration process wrong.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. got Smith to concede that not voting could be a starting point in some cases.

"Your argument really turns on the adequacy of the notice", Roberts said.

The case questions the legality of Ohio's approach to keeping its voter registration rolls up to date. "We should be working to make voting easier, not more hard, for Americans that want to participate in the electoral process". But there were signs that the court could be poised to issue a broader ruling that gives other states permission to aggressively purge their rolls, potentially disenfranchising large numbers of legitimate voters. The Supreme Court took up the case in May. They called Ohio's policy the most aggressive.

The case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, focuses on Ohio's process for routinely clearing no-longer-eligible voters from its official lists.

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