Monday, June 11, 2018

Having Supreme Difficulty With Voting

If it's a Monday in June, it's a major Supreme Court decision, and this week we got Husted vs. Raldolph Institute, the Ohio voter registration purge case, just in time for the 2018 midterms.  In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Alito, SCOTUS decided that Ohio's mass voter purges by GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted did not violate the Voter Rights Act.

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court gave Ohio a victory Monday in a fight over the state's method for removing people from the voter rolls, a practice that civil rights groups said discourages minority turnout.

At least a dozen other politically conservative states said they would adopt a similar practice if Ohio prevailed, as a way of keeping their voter registration lists accurate and up to date.

Prof. Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, predicted that a win for Ohio would escalate voting wars between the political parties
"You'll see more red states making it easier to drop people from the voter registration rolls," he said. 
All states have procedures for removing from their registration lists the names of people who have moved and are therefore no longer eligible to vote in a given precinct. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether a voter's decision to sit out a certain number of elections could be the trigger for that effort. 
Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, said the court’s job was not "to decide whether Ohio’s supplemental process is the ideal method for keeping its voting rolls up to date. The only question before us is whether it violates federal law. It does not."

Ohio election officials send notices to anyone who fails to cast a ballot during a two-year period. People who do not respond and don't vote over the next four years, including in two more federal elections, are dropped from the list of registered voters.

And of course the groups least likely to vote in consecutive elections and therefore trigger having their voter registration dropped are young voters and minority voters, and Ohio purged hundreds of thousands of those voters in 2016.  Expect basically every other red state to take up this practice, as well as to take up Ohio's aggressive timeline to purge voters before 2020.

Republicans want as few people eligible to vote as possible for a reason, and this is just one more weapon to use against voter registration drives.  Don't be surprised if red states in fact take up even more aggressive voter purges too, apparently it's open season now on "use it or lose it" as a "right" to vote.

What this means is voting is no longer a protected right, but something that can be taken from you by the states for the reason of choosing not using it.  Alito and the conservative majority on the court aren't concerned with voting rights, they are concerned with Republicans winning, period.

SCOTUS got this wrong, and once again you can thank Republicans who stole a Supreme Court pick from Democrats...and the morons who said both parties are the same and voted third party or stayed home.

And now if you stay home in states like Ohio?  You lose your right to vote.  Might want to consider exercising that right in November, yes?

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