The Supreme Court just handed down another decision, upholding the Ohio law for purging invalid voters from the voting rolls. The law states that if someone doesn’t vote in a federal election, they may be contacted to insure they are still alive and residing in Ohio. If there is no answer and another four years goes by without them voting, their name is removed from the rolls. Civil rights groups challenged the law, claiming it discriminates against and represses the voices of minority voters, although it’s hard to see how you can call them voters if they let six years go by without ever voting.
In a 5-4 decision along partisan lines, the SCOTUS overturned a lower court, ruling that Ohio’s law is legal and reasonable, considering that studies show one in eight voter registrations in the US is invalid or inaccurate, and states have a legitimate interest in policing the integrity of voter rolls. The liberal dissent by Justice Breyer went on for 18 pages, citing poll taxes and other historic methods of repressing the minority vote, none of which apply in Ohio today, and claiming that minority voters simply ignore official notices from the state, which seems like a pretty bad practice in any situation.
The majority opinion by Justice Alito noted that the dissent made a political argument but ignored that the Ohio law precisely follows the federal law, which bars removing people simply for not voting. He noted that if the American people don’t like the federal law, they can petition Congress to rewrite it, but it’s not within the power of judges to invalidate laws just because some people don’t like them.
That last news may come as a bigger blow to the Democrats than the decision that the voter rolls can be cleaned up. Believe it or not, that’s not a partisan shot. The USA Today write-up of the decision makes it very clear that this is considered good for Republicans and bad for Democrats because it might reduce turnout among the Democrats’ most loyal constituency. I don’t know why they think minorities are incapable of answering a letter, or why they think minorities are a loyal Democrat voting block if they haven’t voted at all in six years. Maybe they’re talking about dead people.