In addition to OH, six U.S. states have drawn up plans to purge their voter lists: Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
"The essence of this case", said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, is whether Ohio's process is "disenfranchising disproportionately certain cities where large groups of minorities live, where large groups of homeless people live, and across the country they're the group that votes the least". But voting security laws that have been introduced in Congress aren't moving swiftly.
OH is being backed in the case by 17 other mostly Republican states and the Trump administration. Unfortunately, federal priorities have been confounded by the controversial reversal of the Department of Justice's position on this case.
Justice Sotomayor, along with her colleagues Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, were the most vocal forces during Ohio's arguments, which may signal a general support of the court's left wing for the Randolph Institute et.al.
OH says it's doing it to keep their voting rolls updated and clear of people who have died or moved.
In a Supreme Court brief, OH officials said the notices protect the integrity of the voting rolls, as failing to vote suggests that voters may have moved.
"What should the state do?" he asked. So he joined a civil rights group in suing the state. That law says a voter can't be removed simply because of a failure to vote.
OH denied that is what it does.
The court will decide the case by late June.
Under the OH process, voters who haven't cast a ballot in two years get a notice from the state asking them to verify they are eligible to vote. "I don't understand how you can say the failure to vote can be used as the sole basis for sending out notices", she said. The state then cancels the registration of any voter who moves and does not vote or change their registration within four years of receiving the notice.
Paul Smith, Vice President of Litigation, Campaign Legal Center: "Ohio's process denies eligible individuals their right to vote, attacking the very heart of our democracy. So you have in the end a six-year period to interact, to vote, to let us know that you still want to be on the voter rolls", he said. If a voter does not respond to that single mailing and does not vote for the next four years, the voter is automatically removed from the state's voter rolls.
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"Close to 50 percent of Ohioans don't vote in every given election". In a lot of larger states, like California, Breyer said, it would be prohibitively expensive to send the non-forwardable cards to everyone.
The A. Philip Randolph Institute, represented by Campaign Legal Center's Paul Smith, argued on Wednesday that OH violates federal voting laws by basing its decision to remove voters on their failure to vote.
Justice Samuel Alito came to the state's defense. Alito asked, with the emphasis on "solely".
"Seventy percent of people don't return them - that's what the statistics show about the notices in 2011: ten percent were returned as undeliverable, 20 percent were returned, and 1.2 million people just threw them in the circular file", Smith said.
Smith said failure to vote was hardly a reason to believe someone had moved. "Other times I didn't like either of the candidates". Harmon, for instance, continued to pay property taxes on the same address. At one point, Gore mentions that he "ran into" a mutual acquaintance who "mentioned this case", but the name of that person is redacted.
But Secretary of State Husted says the goal is not to keep people from the polls. But that is not Ohio's process. Justice Clarence Thomas was characteristically silent, as was Justice Neil Gorsuch, who asked no questions.
The court's liberal justices seemed to side with the challengers.
"There's a 24-year history of solicitor generals of both political parties under. presidents of both political parties who have taken a position contrary to yours", Sotomayor said, adding that it "seems quite unusual that your office would change its position so dramatically". We give nine experts a job for life just so they can figure out the answers to these exact questions.
At issue in Wednesday's case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, was Ohio's registry maintenance policy.