There have been a number of tricks that Republicans have used to take elections Democrats should have won. There was gerrymandering (manipulating voting districts to include just the favorable voters), robocalls announcing the wrong dates for primaries and elections, and impossibly long voting lines. Another more lethal technique made it all the way to the Supreme Court.
Donald Trump believed he won the popular vote only because of illegal voters. To prove that, he hired the man who endorsed scraping the voting rolls and manipulating them in favor of the GOP, Kansas’ own Chris Kobach.
It seemed, Kobach only found fraudulent votes in the low double digits, so he headed back to Kansas in hopes of following the economically failed former governor, Tom Brownback, into office. That did not stop Republicans from taking voter suppression to the top court in the land.
In a 5-4 ruling along party lines, SCOTUS ruled that Ohio could remove people from its voting rolls, if they thought they were inactive. Inactive is not the same as invalid.
The GOP hopes to use this latest decision to change the voting structure across the country. The court sided with the argument that voter fraud exists.
Justice Samuel Alito Jr. argued with these statistics, according to The Washington Times:
‘2.75 million people are registered to vote in more than one state, and some 24 million names on voting lists are inaccurate.’
Ohio will remove people who have not voted in the past six years and do not return a mailed notice. The state can than assume that their registration was invalid, because the voter had moved. That would be a big, erroneous assumption.
Still, the Supreme Court said the 1993 motor voter law made allowances for scouring the voter rolls. Justice Alito wrote for the majority:
‘We have no authority to second-guess Congress or 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.’
‘What matters for present purposes is not whether the Ohio Legislature overestimated the correlation between nonvoting and moving or whether it reached a wise policy judgment about when return cards should be sent.’
Both Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor wrote dissents. Justice Sotomayor argued that the Supreme Court was infringing upon people’s right to vote – especially minorities:
‘Congress enacted the NVRA against the backdrop of substantial efforts by states to disenfranchise low-income and minority voters, including programs that purged eligible voters from registration lists because they failed to vote in prior elections.
‘The Court errs in ignoring this history and distorting the statutory text … ultimately sanctioning the very purging that Congress expressly sought to protect against.’
Senior director of Democracy and Government Reform at the Center for American Progress, Liz Kennedy said:
‘The Supreme Court has just given a stamp of approval to voter suppression. Ohio’s system of purging voters that choose not to participate in some elections unfairly silences hundreds of thousands of voters in the state, especially people of color and the homeless.’
CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, Steve Vladeck commented:
‘Today’s decision could provide a road map to other states to follow Ohio’s lead and to adopt aggressive rules for culling their voter rolls going forward, even with respect to folks who are still living in Ohio and legally eligible to vote.’
Featured Image via Getty Images/Alex Wong.