Romney campaign jabs at Obama over voting rights suit
August 4th, 2012
09:13 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney campaign jabs at Obama over voting rights suit

(CNN) - Mitt Romney lashed out Saturday against President Barack Obama's campaign and Democratic allies, who sued Ohio requesting the state’s early voting law apply equally to all voters, rather than only to military personnel and citizens who reside overseas.

Romney issued a statement calling the lawsuit an "outrage," and claimed the Democrats' lawsuit argues "it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state's early voting period."

But the lawsuit argues the additional three days of early voting afforded to military personnel and citizens who reside overseas should be opened to all voters. Obama's campaign on Saturday said Romney's criticism was "shameful" and based on a "fabricated" claim.

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The lawsuit involves a series of state laws that Democrats say will lead to "disparate treatment" in access to in-person early voting, according to a court document. It was filed on July 17 by Obama's campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Ohio Democratic Party against the state's attorney general and secretary of state. The laws were passed by the Republican-led legislature and signed by the GOP governor, John Kasich.

At stake is the cutoff for pre-Election Day in-person early voting, which the state introduced after long lines and other issues plagued the state in the 2004 election. Under the new Ohio laws, registered voters who fall under the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act may vote early, in person, through the day before Election Day, which is a Tuesday. But the last day for those who don't meet those criteria to vote in person is the Friday before Election Day - giving UOCAVA-eligible voters access to the polls on three days when others may not vote.

Many UOCAVA-eligible voters are members of the military, as the 1986 federal law covers "members of the United States Uniformed Services and merchant marine; their family members; and United States citizens residing outside the United States," according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The Democrats' lawsuit asks the court to find that the Friday deadline for non-UOCAVA voters violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause, and to restore "in-person early voting on the three days immediately preceding Election Day for all eligible Ohio voters."

The lawsuit acknowledges the disparity involved "legislative confusion," but says, "at worst, the differential treatment has been influenced by partisan politics." Those who had served in the military voted 54% for Sen. John McCain and 44% for Obama in the 2008 election, according to CNN national exit polling data.

In a statement, Romney said: "The brave men and women of our military make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms, and we should do everything we can to protect their fundamental right to vote. I stand with the fifteen military groups that are defending the rights of military voters, and if I'm entrusted to be the commander-in-chief, I'll work to protect the voting rights of our military, not undermine them."

A representative of Obama's campaign - Obama for America Veterans and Military Family Vote Director Rob Diamond - responded with a statement on Saturday.

"Mitt Romney and his campaign have completely fabricated a claim that the Obama campaign is trying to restrict military voting in Ohio," Diamond said. "In fact, the opposite is true: the Obama campaign filed a lawsuit to make sure every Ohioan, including military members and their families, has early voting rights over the last weekend prior to the election. The case filed with the court could not be clearer on this point."

Among the groups supporting Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine - and siding with Romney's position - are the National Guard Association of the United States, the Association of the U.S. Army, Association of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps League and Military Officers Association of America, according to court filings.

The groups filed with the court a motion to intervene, asking it to dismiss the case. As to the different voting provisions, the groups argued "it is both laudable and constitutionally appropriate for the State to do everything in its power to facilitate voting by military personnel in any form; the fact that similar arrangements are not offered to civilians does not render them unconstitutional."

The three additional days for UOCAVA-eligible voters meets the legal standard of having a "rational basis" and does not substantially burden others, the groups continued in their filing, as "the Ohio legislature reasonably could have concluded that military and overseas voters require special accommodation and flexibility in voting." Additionally, they contend the law does not discriminate based along the protected lines of "race, alienage, national origin, gender, [and] illegitimacy."

The suit says 29% of Ohio votes in 2008 were cast via absentee ballot, a number which included in-person early voting, and 93,000 voters cast ballots in the three days before Election Day.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division.

– CNN's Lindsey Knight contributed to this report


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Ohio • President Obama
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Crismn

    The outrage are his tax returns!

    August 5, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  2. Wake up people

    Still trying to steal the election Willard? We know they promised you a victory but it is the voters with the last word. Show us your taxes Willard that's all we want from you.

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 5, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  3. Georgia Tee

    Don't you just love this Teapublican party, protect the rights of our military men & women to vote early, BUT its OK to pass new laws that suppress the voting rights of mostly people of color, the young, and elderly.

    August 5, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  4. r harris

    Here we go again. Obama wants to do something for all Ohio voters and pants on fire Romney spins it to tell another lie. Sorry Romney but Ohio is going blue and you can thank that azz governor for making it happen They got a good taste of the right last year and they spit you out

    August 5, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  5. Name bullock

    Kick out of presdient obama
    2012 also people are loved cheat vote support for presdient obama from fraud check scam from afrcian amercian

    August 5, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Does spineless, spoiled, pampered, pathetic liar Mitt Romney thinks every voter is as stupid as the conservative? Around the world, people are fighting and dying for the right to vote. Instead of making easier for people to vote, the GOP and its garbage supporters are working to restrict others their opportunity to vote. The lawsuit does not affect military members' right to vote.

    August 5, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  7. Jerry

    Now, now tell me again that HE REALLY supports service men and women. I hope ALL service men and women remember Mr. Obama's treatment, lies and hypocrisy when the November elections roll around.

    I am guessing HE cares as much for our service men and women as much as he cares for middle class Americans.

    Like some of the leading Black ministers have indicated before: What else can America expect from the Judas-in-Chief?!

    Stay tuned... more bad news from the "Chosen One" a'coming!

    August 5, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  8. amlcpamaine

    Romney's entire business success has been exploitive and this follows the same track: he expects those less fortunate to bend over. And if someone actually pushes back, he rants with righteous indignation.

    Watch: there will be several incidents during the rest of the campaign when he'll do this. His campaign will be highly aggressive, push the limit on taste on reason, and he'll rant every time someone who's standing up for their rights actually says something. He's had an entire life of people bending over for his money but the presidency doesn't work that way.

    BTW my long time employer was a Bain client and he and his partners ripped off our retirement system for their fees. They think that's OK because the fed has the pension guarantee program (we get pennies on the dollar) - all these zealots who think he's so wonderful don't realize that as taxpayers THEY paid for his partners to walk with millions. Fools.

    August 5, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I have begun to notice that some of Romney's supporters on here do not have a very good command of the English Lanaguage. Do you supposed he outsourced these blogger jobs to India and China as well? That way he only pays one fourth of the minimum wage. Show us your tax forms Mittens.

    August 5, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  10. harriedhubby

    Why must CNN be complicit in every Romney lie! Have you read the filings? Romney is not JABBING at Obama. He is LYING about Obama. This "false equivalency" that CNN constantly displays is sickening and an example of why you are being seen as a sightly less blatant version of Fox News.

    August 5, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  11. wgf

    This is what the Romney campaign is. They attempt to reverse any legitimate issue that Obama and the Democrats bring against them - no matter how ironic or comical the results appear to be. So what you get is Romney saying that Obama is trying to restrict voting rights, and that Obama lacks tranparency, and that Reid should "put up or shut up", and that some car dealership in the Midwest failed because of the auto bailout, etc, etc. I suppose there are some people they can get to buy into all of this, but it's definitely targeting the lowest common denominator. But I guess the GOP knows its base better than anyone else.

    The Romney campaign strategy is basically a playground taunt - "I know you are but what am I?"

    August 5, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  12. ghost

    Just another example of the gop trying to gain an advantage in the voting process. Is cheating the only way they can win. No special treatment for any group. If it applies to one it applies to all. I served in the military. Thanks but no thanks. If you really want to do something for our men and women in the military, provide them with a job when they get out and stop trying to steal an election.

    August 5, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  13. NotFooledByDistractions

    "But the lawsuit argues the additional three days of early voting afforded to military personnel and citizens who reside overseas should be opened to ALL voters. Obama's campaign on Saturday said Romney's criticism was "shameful" and based on a "fabricated" claim."

    Romney thinks you're stupid. But...those are the tactics one uses when the candidate is desperate and has nothing...he's a fraud and a liar.

    August 5, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  14. Marty, FL

    Romney is spinning dishonesty again, trying to prevent all Americans from having voting equality. Shameful.

    August 5, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  15. T'sah From Virginia

    What makes the Republicans think they are right when they are attempting to BLOCK the VOTES for reasons that are very obvious – hurt senior citizens, hurt college students and hurt minorities – Our ancestors did not FIGHT to have voter's rights to have it taken away on false premises?

    So Romney takes a JAB and once again he argues a "half-truth" and they truly believe they can get away with it. And then you have "listeners" who would not take the time to figure it out, believing it!! I guess Romney and his campaign is banking on IGNORANCE... WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    August 5, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  16. Stopthemadness

    Romney doesn't want equal voting because he knows that it will mean more votes against him. Bush tried the same thing his second term. I love how they don't want people to have a vote. We are all Americans and we should all have a voice and Romney wants to make sure we don't end of story.

    August 5, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  17. kathi

    that's because the military WON'T vote for obama - they are all about America, obama is not.

    August 5, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
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