As an American, you can now lose your right to vote because of a U.S. Supreme Court Ruling. The court ruled on Tuesday that state governments can now remove people’s names from lists of registered voters. The courts can do this to voters for nothing more than missing a previous election.
“I served in the military and they tell us, ‘Oh, you’re fighting for freedom,’ Larry Harmon told NBC News. “Then you come back and you’re taken off the voter rolls because you didn’t vote for two elections? That doesn’t make sense. I thought that was our right.”
Harmon learned he had no right to vote when he went to cast his ballot for a local referendum at a high school in Kent, Ohio. Harmon’s name was not on the voter list because he had not voted in six years. Also, he had not returned a letter asking him to confirm his voter registration.
“I’ve been paying my taxes, paying my property taxes, registering my car,” Harmon said. “All the data was there for (election officials) to know that I was there.”
Harmon had stayed home on election day 2012 because he did not like the choice between Barrack Obama (D-Illinois) and Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts) in the presidential race. NPR reported that it literally cost him his right to vote when he turned up to cast his ballot against a marijuana legalization measure.
States Can Purge You From The Voter Rolls
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was legal for the State of Ohio to remove Harmon’s name from the voting rolls Tuesday. Ohio officials did not violate a federal law called the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) when they removed Harmon’s name from the list, Justice Samuel Alito wrote in an opinion.
All local officials need to do to remove names from the voting rolls is mail a pre-addressed postcard with prepaid postage to voters, Alito ruled. If voters fail to send the card back, their names get removed and they cannot vote. Alito did not give exceptions for lost mail or persons who are out of town when the card arrives.
The Court denied the right to vote to tens of thousands of Ohioans because they mistook the voter confirmation postcard the state sent them for junk mail and threw it away. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer charged this in his dissent. Harmon was apparently one of those people.
Alito wrote the opinion for a case called Husted, Ohio Secretary of State v. A. Philip Randolph Institute. Harmon was one of the plaintiffs in that case which charged against Ohio’s practice of removing voters from the rolls.
Will Your Right To Vote Be Eliminated?
Critics charged that politicians will now be able to purge people likely to vote against them from voter registration lists. Harmon was one many Ohio residents who were unable to vote.
“I was an active duty soldier that maintained my home of record in the state of Ohio, came back home after defending that right, and could not exercise it because of this archaic and terrible policy,” Former Army Sergeant Jason Snead told NPR.
Alito contended that the Ohio law can stop vote fraud. Left-wing critics of the decision are afraid it will give Republican state governments the right to remove likely Democratic voters such as African Americans from the registration lists. Alito’s decision would provide liberal politicians the power to remove likely Republican voters such as rural residents, gun owners, and Christians from the rolls.
Every American needs to make sure he or she is registered to vote as soon as possible. If you do not, you might get a nasty surprise at the polls in November. The government might have purged your name from the voter registration list and nobody told you.
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What do you think about the Supreme Court saying that your right to vote can be taken away? Let us know in the comments below.