In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Ohio law that allows the state to purge registered voters from the rolls if they have not cast a ballot in two years.
The court’s decision might be understandable because states have long had general control over registration procedures. Voting registration rules vary by state.
But the Ohio law is extreme — and a bad one.
In general, once someone is registered to vote, they should remain on the rolls indefinitely.
There are two understandable exceptions. First, if you commit certain crimes, you lose your right to vote. Second, if you do move, you must correct your registration so your vote can be counted in the proper district for your member of Congress, your state representative and even your alderman.
Perhaps, you might argue if someone has not voted in, say a decade, that something is wrong. But two years is far too little.
Much of the focus on voter turnout centers around presidential races. The real problem has been voter apathy in local elections.
For example, the race that elected Harold Washington mayor of Chicago in 1983 had 1.2 million voters. The 2015 race that elected Rahm Emanuel as mayor had 573,000 voters. We wish people voted in all elections.
But the fact you choose to ignore one election should not disqualify you from the next. Leave those voters on the rolls.