Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute

(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2017 1 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader. See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Syllabus HUSTED, OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE v. A. PHILIP RANDOLPH INSTITUTE ET AL. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT No. 16–980. Argued January 10, 2018—Decided June 11, 2018 The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) addresses the removal of ineligible voters from state voting rolls, 52 U. S. C. §20501(b), includ- ing those who are ineligible “by reason of” a change in residence, §20507(a)(4). The Act prescribes requirements that a State must meet in order to remove a name on change-of-residence grounds, §§20507(b), (c), (d). The most relevant of these are found in subsec- tion (d), which provides that a State may not remove a name on change-of-residence grounds unless the registrant either (A) confirms in writing that he or she has moved or (B) fails to return a pread- dressed, postage prepaid “return card” containing statutorily pre- scribed content and then fails to vote in any election during the peri- od covering the next two general federal elections. In addition to these specific change-of-residence requirements, the NVRA also contains a general “Failure-to-Vote Clause,” §20507(b)(2), consisting of two parts. It first provides that a state removal pro- gram “shall not result in the removal of the name of any per- son . . . by reason of the person’s failure to vote.” Second, as added by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), it specifies that “nothing in [this prohibition] may be construed to prohibit a State from using the procedures” described above—sending a return card and remov- ing registrants who fail to return the card and fail to vote for the req- uisite time. Since one of the requirements for removal under subsec- tion (d) is the failure to vote, the explanation added by HAVA makes clear that the Failure-to-Vote Clause’s prohibition on removal “by reason of the person’s failure to vote” does not categorically preclude using nonvoting as part of a test for removal. Another provision makes this point even more clearly by providing that “no registrant 2 HUSTED v. A. PHILIP RANDOLPH INSTITUTE Syllabus may be removed solely by reason of a failure to vote.” §21083(a)(4)(A) (emphasis added). Respondents contend that Ohio’s process for removing voters on change-of-residence grounds violates this federal law. The Ohio pro- cess at issue relies on the failure to vote for two years as a rough way of identifying voters who may have moved. It sends these nonvoters a preaddressed, postage prepaid return card, asking them to verify that they still reside at the same address. ...

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