With renewed vigor, U.S. top court scrutinizes curbs on voting

January 7, 2018 | | Reuters |

The justices will hear arguments in Republican-governed Ohio’s appeal of a lower court ruling that blocked its policy of erasing from voter registration lists people who do not regularly cast a ballot. Under the policy, such registration is deleted if the person goes six years without either voting or contacting state voting officials.

“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. [...]

Most states periodically cleanse their voter rolls to prevent irregularities, such as someone voting more than once on Election Day. Ohio is one of seven states, along with Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, that purge infrequent voters from registration lists, according to the plaintiffs who sued Ohio in 2016.

“Among those, Ohio is the most aggressive. It has the shortest timeline for removing people for non-voting,” Naifeh said.