Supreme Court OKs Ohio Voter Purge Law

Bryan Woolston via ZUMA

Earlier this year I was pondering whether Ohio’s voter removal law was legal. Referring to section (d) of the 1993 motor voter law, I said:

The Ohio program follows this to the letter.

Today the Supreme Court ruled that:

Ohio’s removal process follows subsection (d) to the letter.

And thus Ohio’s program for maintaining voter rolls is legal. Apparently I’m getting better at this Supreme Court prediction stuff! In any case, I’m sticking with my original view: the Ohio law pushes right to the edge of what’s legal under federal law, but it doesn’t go beyond. It’s legal and, what’s more, probably not that big a deal. Today’s court opinion does not appear to be an expansive new grant of power to purge unwanted voters, nor does it suggest that the motor voter law itself is problematic. The ruling simply says that if you follow the law precisely, then you can purge voters from the rolls.

Aside from the fact that I’d like to do away with voter registration entirely, none of this strikes me as either unreasonable or likely to change things significantly.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.