Supreme Court Backs Ohio's "Use It Or Lose It" Plan To Scrub Lazy, Absent Voters From Rolls

In another decision that is bound to upset the left, the Supreme Court is allowing Ohio to clean up its voting rolls by targeting people who haven't cast ballots in a while.

In a 5-4 decision, SCOTUS upheld Ohio's so-called "use it or lose it" practice, arguing, as The Hill reports, that the “Supplemental Process,” does not violate the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which bar states from removing the names of people from the voter rolls for failing to vote.

This case was a challenge to one of the practices that Ohio uses for removing voters from its registration lists: Election boards mail notices to registered voters who have not voted in two years, asking them to confirm that they are still eligible to vote. If a voter does not return that notice, his registration is cancelled. The challengers contend that the practice violates federal voting laws, which bar states from removing registered voters from their list just because they did not vote.

The process is one of two methods state officials use to identify voters who are no longer eligible to vote due to a change of residence.

The procedure "does not strike any registrant solely by reason of the failure to vote," Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority.

"Instead, as expressly permitted by federal law, it removes registrants only when they have failed to vote and have failed to respond to a change-of-residence notice."

As The Hill notes, six other states - Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia - have similar practices that target voters for removal from the rolls for not voting, but Ohio’s is the most extreme. 

The case became a proxy for the highly partisan fight over the country’s election rules. Republicans are calling for stepped-up efforts to prevent voter fraud, while Democrats say that push is a thinly veiled campaign to stop liberals and minorities from casting ballots.

Ohio is perennially a battleground state in presidential elections and has given its electoral votes to the eventual winner in 28 of the last 30 elections, and will now be able to use the system for its November election, when Senator Sherrod Brown will be among 26 Democrats defending their seats.