Ohio appeals to Supreme Court on early voting

Associated Press Modified: October 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm •  Published: October 9, 2012
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Democrats estimated in their lawsuit that 93,000 people voted during the final three-day window before the 2008 election. They argued everyone should have the chance to vote on those three days. They said eliminating the opportunity for most Ohio residents to vote in person on those days, while giving military or overseas voters the chance to do so, led to unequal treatment.

The decision the 6th Circuit affirmed came from U.S. District Judge Peter Economus on Aug. 31. He said he expected Husted to direct all county elections boards to maintain a specific, consistent schedule on the three final days before Election Day.

Attorneys for the state said many laws already grant military personnel special voting accommodations, such as requirements for states to send absentee ballots to them 45 days before the election. And they contend local boards also need those three days to prepare for the election.

But Economus said the voters' right to cast ballots in person on those days outweighs the state's reasons for limiting that opportunity.

The judge issued a preliminary injunction, concluding that the state's law was unconstitutional in changing the in-person early voting deadline and that the state was wrongly valuing certain votes above others.

Husted's announcement that he would take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court came on a day when Obama was campaigning in the state, timing a rally at the Ohio State University campus to the final day of voter registration.

Obama's fellow Democrats criticized Husted for fostering voter confusion. State Sen. Nina Turner of Cleveland said Husted could set uniform statewide hours on the final three days before the election if that is his goal.

Senate Democratic Leader Eric Kearney accused Husted of using delay tactics to impede voters' rights.

"It is now clear that Secretary of State Jon Husted will stop at nothing to deny Ohioans full and equal access to the polls," he said.


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