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U.S. Supreme Court Prepares to Hear Ohio Voter Roll Purge Case

photo of John Husted

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Jan. 10th in a case challenging Ohio’s method for maintaining its voter rolls. The case is about what information can be used to start the process of cancelling a voter’s registration.

Ohio uses failure to vote as a reason to start the removal process. That, according to the ACLU of Ohio, is against the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, better known as the motor voter law.

Mike Brickner of the ACLU of Ohio, which is a co-counsel in the case, says the state should be using change-of-address information from the postal service or death notices.

“The problem with our election system isn't that there are too many people who are illegally or improperly registered to vote, it's that we're not encouraging enough people to vote,” Brickner said.

The state says it does use postal information and death notices in addition to purging voters who have not cast a ballot in the previous two federal election cycles. Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted says maintaining the rolls is challenging and the state gives voters many chances to update their information.

“We're required by law to keep the voter rolls up to date. And when I got to office, there were several counties that had more registered voters than they had adults living in those counties,” Husted said. 

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute next month.