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Protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court Cause in January it is hears arguments in a challenge to Ohio's voter roll purges. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled 5-4 in favor of Ohio's decision to kick thousands of registered voters from its rolls for not voting in recent elections and failing to respond to a notice from state officials.

The big picture: Civil rights groups argued the practice is part of a broader voter suppression effort by Republicans to diminish the political influence of minorities who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats. But Republicans have contended that they're simply promoting ballot integrity and that the process keeps the state’s voter registration lists accurate and up-to-date.

  • This is also a victory for President Trump's Justice Department, which has sided with the administration's support for voter eligibility restrictions that it claims will crack down on alleged voter fraud.

The details: All states periodically clean up their voter rolls, but only a handful remove voters simply because they’re inactive. In Ohio, a presidential swing state where the practice could have an even greater impact, the practice is said to be more aggressive than any other.

  • How the system works: Ohio sends notices to registered voters who fail to vote in a two-year period. If they fail to respond and do not vote in the next four years, their names are removed from the rolls.

A 2016 Reuters analysis of voter lists found that in the state’s three largest counties — Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Hamilton (Cincinnati) and Franklin (Columbus) — voters have been kicked off the rolls in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods “at roughly twice the rate as in Republican neighborhoods.”

  • That's because Republicans are more likely to vote in both congressional elections and presidential contests.
  • It also found that neighborhoods with a high proportion of poor, black residents are hit hardest. Both Republican and Democratic officials in Ohio have purged inactive voters over the past 20 years.

In a thundering dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the conservative majority ruling "entirely ignores the history of voter suppression against which the [National Voting Rights Act] was enacted and upholds a program that appears to further the very disenfranchisement of minority and low-income voters that Congress set out to eradicate."

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
4 mins ago - World

True COVID-19 death toll is double the official numbers, study finds

Expand chart
Data: IHME; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

There have been twice as many deaths from COVID-19 around the world as have been reported, according to the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), which analyzed excess mortality and other factors.

The big picture: The U.S. has undercounted by over 300,000 deaths, while the death tolls in India and Mexico — second and third on the list, respectively — are nearly three times the official numbers, according to the analysis.

Top Wall Street cop says report on meme stocks is coming

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Wall Street's top regulator says a report examining meme stock mania will be coming "sometime this summer."

The big picture: It will "detail the range of activities" that came out of the January events," SEC chair Gary Gensler said Thursday at a third congressional hearing held to dissect the GameStop trading phenomenon.

Exclusive: Jennifer Garner to be featured in Mother's Day vaccination campaign

Jennifer Garner. Photo by IngleDodd Media/via Getty Images

Actress Jennifer Garner will team up with the Biden administration in a coordinated campaign to encourage vaccinations around Mother's Day, Axios has learned.

Driving the news: The administration is eager to keep up the pace of inoculations now that all adult Americans are eligible but the pace of vaccinations is starting to slow.

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