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. Ancient Texan

    The Obama regime knows that the military will vote overwhelmingly for Romney so that vote needs to be suppressed.

    August 4, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  2. Myviewis

    So let me get this straight, these military Obama is against having the right to vote early are part of the group that Biden received a warm reception from, the Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Las Vegas? Didn't Biden say to them that he and Obama are supportive of U.S. Troops and veterans? Or was Biden (and Obama) just being hypocrites again to win a Vote of reelection for Obama and Biden? Because this law suit is against military personnel. Hypocrites!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  3. Joseph

    So in other words, Romney lies (again).

    Perhaps that should just be in all the headlines about Romney's shameful campaign.

    August 4, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  4. MaryM

    God forbid that every legal American citizen should have the right to vote, huh Romney

    August 4, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  5. Jerubbaal

    Will his lying and obfuscation ever cease. Why waste his time in Indiana, that is considered a red state. Does the internal polling reveal otherwise.

    August 4, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    The owners of politicians are like leaseholders–their property diminishes in value every year. Time's chariot is at their back; before them acres of anonymity. Mr Obamas case, though, has a peculiar interest: infancy is his disguise, his appeal is more secret and more adult. Already two years ago he was a fancy little piece (real childhood, I think, went out after The Littlest Rebel). In Captain January he wore trousers with the mature suggestiveness of a Dietrich: his neat and well-developed rump twisted in the tap-dance: his eyes had a sidelong searching coquetry. Now in Wee Willie Winkie, wearing short kilts, he is completely totsy. Watch his swaggering stride across the Indian barrack-square: hear the gasp of excited expectation from his antique audience when the sergeant's palm is raised: watch the way he measures a man with agile studio eyes, with dimpled depravity. Adult emotions of love and grief glissade across the mask of childhood, a childhood that is only skin-deep. It is clever, but it cannot last. His admirers–middle-aged liberals–respond to his dubious coquetry, to the sight of his well-shaped and desirable little body, packed with enormous vitality, only because the safety curtain of story and dialogue drops between their intelligence and their desire

    August 4, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  7. silentcount

    Obama is such a loser... and is trying so hard to make America losers. Get him out of there ASAP!

    August 4, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  8. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    These republican bafoons just don't get it ,Gop train wreck in Nov .with BACHMANN and mitt the TWIT and cantor on board .where's your tax returns TWIT .?????

    August 4, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  9. amy smith

    The owners of politicians are like leaseholders–their property diminishes in value every year. Time's chariot is at their back; before them acres of anonymity. Mr Obamas case, though, has a peculiar interest: infancy is his disguise, his appeal is more secret and more adult. Already two years ago he was a fancy little piece (real childhood, I think, went out after The Littlest Rebel). In Captain January he wore trousers with the mature suggestiveness of a Dietrich: his neat and well-developed rump twisted in the tap-dance: his eyes had a sidelong searching coquetry. Now in Wee Willie Winkie, wearing short kilts, he is completely totsy. Watch his swaggering stride across the Indian barrack-square: hear the gasp of excited expectation from his antique audience when the sergeant's palm is raised: watch the way he measures a man with agile studio eyes, with dimpled depravity. Adult emotions of love and grief glissade across the mask of childhood, a childhood that is only skin-deep. It is clever, but it cannot last. His admirers–middle-aged liberals–respond to his dubious coquetry, to the sight of his well-shaped and desirable little body, packed with enormous vitality, only because the safety curtain of story and dialogue drops between their intelligence and their desi

    August 4, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  10. silentcount

    It will be very very bad for us all if Obama is president for four more years. He organized the two communities further apart than ever, and that was the only thing on his resume he was suppose to be good at. Pathetic!

    August 4, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  11. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    It sure says a lot, America, that Romney supports the suppression of your right to vote. You have to wonder ... what other rights and freedoms does he want to suppress or take away from you?

    August 4, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. DL13

    Seems like the Dems do this during every presidential election, finding some way to block military votes. I remember it happening in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Why it isn't getting more coverage is amazing, because voter suppression is so disgusting.....

    August 4, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. Democracy?

    Mitt obviously you do not believe in all the people voting! I guess you would be happiest if only the top 1% voted. With all the laws the Republicans passed this year trying to keep people from voting it is a real statement on Republicans are Elitists and do not want all the people voting!

    August 4, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  14. DFW Dann

    Voting is a right that politicians should be working to ensure maximum participation. Instead, they shamefully work to restrict it.

    August 4, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I believe that there should be more time given to people to vote. This doing it all on one day stuff is for the birds. Give people the option to vote earlier and over more time.

    August 4, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  16. LIB

    Mitt is desperate!

    August 4, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  17. degazmatic

    Romney lying? Say it aint so! Would you believe a pathological liar if he says that everything he says is a lie? The republicans are NOT above lying. These people claim that the duly elected president of the united states of america is a good for nothing, uneducated, poor, gay, kenyan, muslim, socialist. I couldn't make this up if I tried. When fox news says that the gop are lying.... Nuff said

    August 4, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  18. NameBill

    I have never seen any campaign lie and distort as often as the Romney campaign has. They should be ashamed of themselves and Romney should apologize to our servicemen for using them in a political distortion.

    August 4, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  19. n

    What is wrong with this guy Romney? Is he for the people or not? The republican party have lost their minds. Vote to keep them away from the red button.

    August 4, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  20. Larry L

    Ohio has had serious problems providing citizens adequate opportunities to vote. This is not about the military. Only a fool or a bigot would think the current actions by Republicans aren't designed to reduce the opportunity for middle-class and poor folks who work long, inflexible hours to get to the polls. Big shock! The people who have the least flexibility with their hours are the working poor. Another shock! The working poor tend to vote for Democrats rather than fat-cats. Do people from Ohio raelly want to do away with democracy and just let the rich control America?

    August 4, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  21. Keeping it Real

    Considering the sacrifices that our country's servicemen and women make, this minor allowance is the least that can be done. It's a shameful act by Obama to say the least.

    August 4, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  22. Ed1

    No surprise Obama doesn't like the military he just uses them.

    I wouldn't vote for him again and I am a VET just smarter now will not make the same mistake twice we can't afford his out of control spending anymore period.

    August 4, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  23. Chuck in Jasper Ga

    So what else is new. A Republican distorting something the Obama Administration has attempted to do to make things equal for everyone in Ohio. Who would ever think that Romney or any Republican would distort the facts...............

    August 4, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  24. n

    Why wouldn't Romney want people to vote early if they wanted to? What is he afraid of?

    August 4, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  25. Ken Williamson

    It is voter suppression, plain and simple. Add it to the voter i.d. laws that the republicans have passed and the United States becomes an UN-democratic nation with as much moral authority as Sudan.

    August 4, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
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