by Allegra Chapman, Director of Voting and Elections,Common Cause
Ever missed a federal election? If you’re like most Americans, the answer is yes. In this last presidential election 55% of eligible Americans cast ballots, and in the mid-term before that only 36% did—the lowest rate in 70 years. Voters miss elections for lots of reasons, ranging from illness to work commitments to downright disappointment in the political system. No matter the reason, failing to cast a ballot doesn’t impact your constitutional right to vote down the road. At least, it shouldn’t.
On January 10, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute, a case that addresses whether Ohio elections officials may target for removal from the registration rolls voters who’ve failed to vote, or otherwise update their information, over a two-year period (or one federal election cycle). Thanks to the state’s “supplemental” purging process, roughly two million voter registration records have been removed over the past 15 years.