by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Can a state ensure that its voter rolls aren’t filled with non-residents and dead people who shouldn’t be registered to vote? The Left doesn’t think so, but the U.S. Department of Justice answered yes recently when it filed an amicus brief in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case when it starts its new term this fall.
The Department of Justice is supporting Ohio in its attempts to keep its voter rolls accurate and up to date. Federal law requires states to do so under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Over at the Washington Post, Sari Horwitz highlights the supposedly “radical change in philosophy from the previous Justice Department.” But look at the history of federal enforcement of the NVRA: It was under Obama that the Justice Department changed its position on the law, something you would never know from reading the Post story.
This case involves Ohio’s unremarkable process for removing ineligible voters from the rolls. To individuals who haven’t voted in two years, the state will send a confirmation notice, asking if they still live at their registered address. If the individual doesn’t return the notice and doesn’t vote for an additional four years, Ohio will remove them from the rolls. …
… Vanita Gupta, head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said that the DOJ’s position “signals the broader agenda of the administration to roll back voter rights in this country.” But we have yet to learn how anyone’s rights are rolled back through clean registration rolls that include only eligible voters. In fact, it’s clean voter rolls that help make elections fair and help ensure their integrity.