Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute

138 S. Ct. 1833, 201 L. Ed. 2d 141 (2018)

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Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute

United States Supreme Court
138 S. Ct. 1833, 201 L. Ed. 2d 141 (2018)

Facts

To ensure the accuracy of voter rolls maintained by states, the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) required states to establish a program that reasonably attempted to remove the names of voters who had become ineligible to vote due to death or a change in residence. The NVRA provided that a state could not remove a registrant from the voter rolls on change-of-residence grounds unless the registrant (1) confirmed the change of residence in writing or (2) failed to return a preaddressed, postage-paid return card sent by the state. The return card was required to explain to the registrant that if the registrant had not moved, the registrant could stay on the voter rolls only by either returning the card or voting in the roughly four-year period covering the next two general federal elections. Ohio sent return cards to individuals who had sent change-of-address information to the United States Postal Service (USPS). However, because many people who move do not give change-of-address information to the USPS, Ohio also used a supplemental process that identified registrants whose lack of voter activity suggested that the registrant might have moved. The state defined lack of voter activity to include failure to cast a ballot in any federal, state, or local election for a consecutive two-year period. Ohio sent return cards to registrants identified through this supplemental process and removed registrants who failed to respond to the card and who continued to be inactive for an additional consecutive four-year period, including two federal general elections. The A. Philip Randolph Institute and another advocacy group (plaintiffs) sued Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (defendant) in federal district court, asserting that Ohio’s supplemental process violated the NVRA’s failure-to-vote clause, which prohibited a state from removing a person from voter rolls by reason of that person’s failure to vote. The district court entered judgment for Husted, but the Sixth Circuit reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)

Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

Dissent (Sotomayor, J.)

Dissent (Breyer, J.)

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