Supreme Court Allows Ohio Voter Purge - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Supreme Court Allows Ohio Voter Purge

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Ohio plans to resume its process for removing inactive voters from its voter rolls.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states can target registered voters who haven't cast ballots in a while.

A handful of other states also use voters' inactivity to trigger a process that could lead to their removal from the voting rolls.

Justice Samuel Alito said for the court that Ohio is complying with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. He was joined by his four conservative colleagues.

The four liberal justices dissented.

Partisan fights over ballot access are being fought across the country. Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to suppress votes from minorities and poorer people who tend to vote for Democrats. Republicans have argued that they are trying to promote ballot integrity and prevent voter fraud.

Under Ohio rules, registered voters who fail to vote in a two-year period are targeted for eventual removal from registration rolls, even if they haven't moved and remain eligible. The state said it only uses the disputed process after first comparing its voter lists with a U.S. postal service list of people who have reported a change of address. But not everyone who moves notifies the post office, the state said.

So the state asks people who haven't voted in two years to confirm their eligibility. If they do, or if they show up to vote over the next four years, voters remain registered. If they do nothing, their names eventually fall off the list of registered voters.

In oral arguments Jan. 10, an attorney for civil rights groups said Americans not only have the right to vote, they have the right not to without worry about losing their registration. Attorneys for Ohio and the United States — President Trump's administration reversed the position by former President Barack Obama by siding with Ohio — contended they are only trying to ensure the integrity of voting rolls. Trump has elevated the issue of voting fraud during his presidency. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has said repeatedly that the state wants to "make it easy to vote and hard to cheat."

(The Associated Press, CBS News contributed to this report.)

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