In a 5-4 ruling, with all the liberal justices dissenting, the US Supreme Court today upheld Ohio's right to purge infrequent voters from its lists of approved voters.
Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, said Ohio officials were not violating federal law with their purge policy (which, according to a federal appeals court, has resulted in 7,500 Ohio voters being wrongly purged).
What does this mean?
It means other states are now likely to follow Ohio's lead, and may even do so in a hurry before the midterm elections.
Ohio has purged 2 million voters since 2011, more than any other state. Black voters 2x as likely as whites to be purged in state's largest counties. GOP wants to do this everywhere https://t.co/QrcNMlVvqa
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) June 11, 2018
It also means that the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which was designed to encourage greater participation in our democracy, has been significantly weakened. Over at Mother Jones, voting rights expert Ari Berman lays out how this is "part of a broader strategy by Republicans"
In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued that today's ruling “entirely ignores the history of voter suppression against which the NVRA was enacted and upholds a program that appears to further the very disenfranchisement of minority and low-income voters that Congress set out to eradicate.”
Now, Sotomayor wrote, advocates for disadvantaged voters will need to "be even more proactive and vigilant in holding their States accountable and working to dismantle the obstacles they face in exercising the fundamental right to vote."
Aside from all the other good reasons to encourage more voting, there's also this: In 2016, US voter turnout hit a 20-year-low.