>> A battle over whether states should have the authority to weed out infrequent voters is headed to the Supreme Court. I'm Andy Sullivan at the Supreme Court, which next year will try to answer this question. Are states like Ohio going too far when they cancel the registrations of people who don't vote on a regular basis?
Ohio says it's just trying to keep its voter lists up to date, but civil liberties groups say the practice discriminates against poor people and minorities. I investigated this issue extensively for Reuters last year, and I found that in the state's largest cities, Democratic voters tended to get struck from the rolls at roughly twice the rate of Republican voters.
We're talking about tens of thousands of people each year, which in a competitive state like Ohio is enough to swing the outcome of an election. Ohio requires those who don't vote in an election to sign a form showing they still live at a certain address, trying to clear away the names of those who have moved away or died.
If you don't complete the form and don't vote in the next two elections, your name is stricken from the voting rolls without any further warning. The Supreme Court will review an appeals court ruling that found the practice violated several federal laws designed to make it easier to vote.
The high court has recently upheld other decisions that struck down restrictive voting laws. But their decision to step in here is seen as a promising development for Ohio and other states like Georgia that remove inactive voters from their rolls. They're hoping that the new conservative justice Neil Gorsuch will tip the balance in their favor, and allow them to keep their voter purges in place.
With President Donald Trump promising a crack down on voter fraud, even though few examples actually exist, those who back tighter voting restrictions now feel like they have the wind at their backs.