Supreme Court Upholds Controversial Ohio Voter-Purge Law< < Back to
By a 5-4 margin, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a controversial Ohio voter-purge law.
It’s known as the “use-it-or-lose-it” law, and it’s the most aggressive voter-purge system in the country. The state currently strikes voters from the registration rolls if they fail to vote in two consecutive elections — and if they fail to return a mailed address confirmation form.
Those challenging the law said it violated the National Voting Rights Act, which says that a state cannot strike someone from the rolls for failure to vote. The emphasis is to get more people to vote — and not have them purged.
The lead plaintiff in the case, Larry Harmon, is a software engineer from the Akron area, who normally votes in presidential election years, but not the midterms. In 2012, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney excited him, so he decided not to vote.
When he did decide to vote a couple of years later, he found he was no longer registered. He had been purged from the voter rolls, because he hadn’t voted in the previous two elections.
Failure to vote is not unusual in this country. In 2016, 29 percent of the registered voters in Ohio failed to vote. Nationwide, the number was even higher, more than a third, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.