In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court gave Ohio a victory Monday in a fight over the state's method for removing people from the voter rolls, a practice that civil rights groups said discourages minority turnout.
At least a dozen other politically conservative states said they would adopt a similar practice if Ohio prevailed, as a way of keeping their voter registration lists accurate and up to date.
Prof. Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, predicted that a win for Ohio would escalate voting wars between the political parties.
"You'll see more red states making it easier to drop people from the voter registration rolls," he said.
President Donald Trump, who is in Singapore for the nuclear summit, cheered the decision on Monday night.
All states have procedures for removing from their registration lists the names of people who have moved and are therefore no longer eligible to vote in a given precinct. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether a voter's decision to sit out a certain number of elections could be the trigger for that effort.
Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, said the court's job was not "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."
Ohio election officials send notices to anyone who fails to cast a ballot during a two-year period. People who do not respond and don't vote over the next four years, including in two more federal elections, are dropped from the list of registered voters.
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