The U.S. Supreme Court Monday upheld Ohio's aggressive system of removing voters from the rolls if they do not vote in two consecutive presidential elections and in that time fail to respond to a written notice.
The decision was 5-4 with the court's more conservative justices in the majority, The New York Times reported, noting that while some other states have similar removal system, none moves as fast as Ohio.
Seventeen states, all with Republican attorneys general, sided with Ohio's position. Florida was not one of them. President Donald Trump's administration also supported Ohio's position.
"No other state has a practice as ham-handed and draconian as Ohio's," the League of Women Voters argued in a brief in the case. "Thirty-eight other states (and the District of Columbia) have established practices that, unlike Ohio's supplemental process, use independent information that an individual has moved — not an individual's failure to vote — as a trigger to send a Section 8(d)(2) notice."
Florida is one of those 38 states.
All states are required to periodically comb the voter rolls for people who may have moved to another state — a process known as list maintenance. That work cannot be done less than 90 days before a federal election.
Florida tried that in 2012 and a federal court struck down the purge as illegal.
In Florida, voters are moved to inactive status if a mail notice is returned as undeliverable and they do not return a postage prepaid confirmation notice. Once inactive, a voter can still vote, simply by showing up on election day or requesting a mail ballot.
After a Florida voter is placed on inactive status, he or she can be removed, or moved to ineligible status, after not updating their record, asking for a mail ballot or not voting in two general elections after being declared inactive.
The rules in Florida are explained in detail on the website of Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark.