COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — With three weeks to go until Election Day, Democrats and Republicans are wrangling over early voting in the presidential battleground state of Ohio, with President Barack Obama's campaign urging the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear the Ohio secretary of state's appeal of a lower court ruling on the issue.
The campaign said in a court filing Friday that the high court should deny Ohio Secretary of State John Husted's appeal of a lower court ruling that reinstated early voting on the three days before Election Day and returned discretion to local elections boards.
Husted, a Republican, also asked the Supreme Court to delay the lower court's decision while deciding whether to take the case. He has said the ruling would affect how elections are run in all 50 states and is "an unprecedented intrusion" into how states run elections. Fifteen states and several military organizations have announced support for Husted.
The campaign's filing says Husted's application does not meet the Supreme Court's standards for hearing appeals nor for granting a stay. It also says the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' reinstatement of the early voting on the final three days "will have no impact beyond Ohio's borders." The campaign's filing also says the law likely would violate the Constitution's equal protection clause.
Husted has said all counties should have the same early voting hours and be open the same days.
Obama's campaign and Democrats had sued Husted and Ohio's attorney general for cutting off early voting for most residents on the Friday evening before a Tuesday election, while allowing an exception for military personnel and Ohio voters living overseas.
Attorneys for the state contend local boards of election need those final days to prepare for the election, but the campaign's filing says allowing the lower court ruling to stand will not put a burden on those boards.
Before the law was changed, local boards of elections set early voting hours on the three final days and weekday hours and weekend voting varied among counties.