Ohio secretary of state to appeal early voting ruling to Supreme Court
October 9th, 2012
01:17 PM ET
2 years ago

Ohio secretary of state to appeal early voting ruling to Supreme Court

(CNN) – Ohio's secretary of state announced Tuesday he will move to appeal a federal court's recent ruling that overturned an early voting restriction in the state.

Jon Husted said he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case. On Friday, a federal appeals court sided with the Obama campaign in its protest against a ban on voting in the final weekend–Saturday, Sunday, and Monday–before Election Day.

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In a statement Tuesday, Husted called Friday's ruling an "unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections."

"Because of its impact on all 50 states as to who and how elections will be run in America we are asking the Supreme Court to step in and allow Ohioans to run Ohio elections," the statement read.

While early voting in Ohio begins 35 days ahead of Election Day (and 45 days for those in the military overseas), the Republican-controlled legislature passed a provision in May that cut off early, in-person voting at the end of the day on the Friday before the election. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act also required the state to maintain early voting for members of the military, their family members, and U.S. citizens living outside of the U.S.

Backers of the law, including Husted, argued the move helped election workers gather and prepare in the final few days before November 6. They also argued that in the past, some counties kept their booths open during the three-day window, while others kept them closed, so closing them all together in the final weekend would implement a standard of uniformity across the state.

Critics, however, claimed the three-day ban was crafted out of political partisanship and disproportionately affected Democrats, particularly in urban and left-leaning areas of the state. Opponents also argued it was unfair to allow military members the early voting privileges, but not others living in crucial swing state.

Along with the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party, the Obama campaign filed suit in July over the restriction.

In late August, the federal District Court found the state law "likely" violated the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution, acknowledging an argument that "low-income and minority voters are disproportionately affected by elimination" of particular early voting days. The court found "there is no definitive evidence... that elections boards would be tremendously burdened" by returning poll access to the standard before recent changes to the state's laws.

The state had argued that "local county boards of elections are too busy preparing for Election Day to accommodate early voters" and that "unique challenges faced by military service members and their families justify maintaining in-person early voting for them but not for other Ohio voters," the court's opinion reads.

The circuit court said the injunction does not, however, require local election offices to be open for early voting during the weekend before the election, but said the injunction "return[s] discretion to local boards of elections to allow all Ohio voters to vote" that Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

The court's third member argued that the court's opinion was too broad in scope.

Obama campaign counsel Bob Bauer said the court ruled "that every Ohioan should have equal access to early voting."

"As a result of this decision, every voter, including military, veterans, and overseas voters alongside all Ohioans, will have the same opportunity to vote early through the weekend and Monday before the election," Bauer wrote in a statement. "Across the country, the hard work to protect Americans' right to vote has paid off. We feel that every voter, regardless of party affiliation, that has the right to vote should be able to. We are now focused on making sure that voters across the country fully understand their rights, know exactly what their voting laws require of them, and clarify when they can cast their ballot."

– CNN's Allison Brennan contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Ohio • Supreme Court
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Sandy

    The court is not saying you can't run your own elections. They are saying you can't LIMIT certain people from voting! Stop being partisan and no one will have to interfere!

    October 9, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Quick... More voting restrictions to confuse people. Let's spend more to solve non-existent problems! And let's do it in the name of Freedom!

    Talk about a waste of money.... Grow up!

    October 9, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Kuron

    Great, Mr. Attorney General, waste more taxpayers' money on something designed to suppress the Democratic vote. This close to the election you should just let it slide except you are scared those votes might give your state to Obama.

    October 9, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Borderless

    This could not be more silly. Are we to believe that if someone has a 33 day window to vote instead of a 36 day window, they are being discriminated against and will be unable to vote? Did anyone say this out loud to see how completely ridiculous this claim is? Who are these people who have only one specific 3 day window every other year to cast a vote? Are they the same ones who have no form of identification at all?
    Face palm.

    October 9, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. tee1227

    The GOP do not like what they are seeing at the polls so far, In deep-blue Cuyahoga County, Republicans outpacing Democrats in early ballot requests (but Democrats returning them at a faster clip) update the gap is getting wider they said.

    October 9, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Christine

    Once again Husted believes he can control the number of Democrats voting by eliminating early voting days. History shows that the early voting in Ohio is done mostly by Democrats. One has to wonder if he believes in a government by the people, for the people of if he prefers a government run by men that know what is best for us(or so believe) This is a nasty attempt to win Ohio for Romney–they cannot chase chads so they will stop us from voting.

    October 9, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. ghostriter

    So......transparent.

    Allow early voting for military, but not others. Reason? It's too much of a burden for poll workers. I'm sorry, I missed the part where that was a concern.

    October 9, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. ghostriter

    borderless, they restricted voting from 9-5 mon-fri. Most people voted that weekend before. Excuse me, I should say more democrats voted that weekend before. Hence, them wanting to curtail it.

    See, republicans didn't seem to mind openning it up for the military.....who usually votes republican. See the trend?

    October 9, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    Voter surpression by any means necessary is the GOP mantra. The early voting has already begun and now Husted is panicking because he knows huge amounts of people are casting their ballot early. Democracy in action!

    October 9, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. ARMYCSM

    This is just one of the many reasons President Obama will win. The republicants are lying, stealing and cheating in an all out attempt to influence this election. They forgot one thing: GOD don't like ugly. The more they cheat, lie and steal, the more OB chances of reelection is solidified. By their owns action they lose...

    October 9, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. J

    Ohio GOP are prepared to hand the state to Romney in any way they can, and people are not paying attention! Remember Florida in 2000?

    October 9, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. MaryM

    To late Mr attorney general for the General Election

    October 9, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Keene

    Don't waste tax money let people vote.

    October 9, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Gee, Borderless... If it's so silly, why spend time and money to fight it? Don't they believe in equal protection and equal opportunity under the law? Or is your contention that some are more equal than others...?

    October 9, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. lolo

    They know that the only way Romneyhood can win is by stopping the vote. What a shame that Romneyhood is willing to lie, cheat and steal to become president.

    October 9, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. RPrentice

    Nothing more disgusting and un-American than trying to prevent *certain* people from exercising their constitutional right to vote.

    October 9, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. eric

    you would think it would be more about getting as many people to vote as possible.... not the other way around

    October 9, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    If republicans can't win it or buy it, they steal it.

    Rove antics 12 years after the debacle in 2000.

    Get out and vote early to make sure you are counted. I voted for Obama/Biden last week.

    October 9, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. jnpa

    Here we go again with the GOP and their voter suppression. It almost happened in PA until a REPUBLICAN judge ruled to suspend Voter ID until after this election. By allowing the law to take effect now it would have given the GOP an advantage since the state of PA said it did not have the resouces to comply with the law and make sure all voters could get the IDs.

    October 9, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. DumbasRocks [R]s

    The GOP is running scared in Ohio. Now they desparately need the help of their activist allies on the SCOTUS in order to try to win Ohiio and the presidency. Its FLA-2000 all over again....what they can't win fairly at the polls, they'll steal with the help of their paid-for cronies on the bench. What a bunch of no-good tailless monkees. Every voter in Ohio should be offended, from both parties. Its 1933 Germany all over again.

    October 9, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    It's NOT the Obama campaign! It's our one given right unless the returns are turning US into a communist country like Cuba where nobody gets to vote.
    If anyone is trying to cheat its these rethinks. How come it wasn't a problem four years ago? NOW it's a problem. Yeah, right. I still have the MS river in AZ I want to sell to some fool out there.

    October 9, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Dejavu65

    These GOP people are started to get ridiculous I can't believe people with any integrity vote for these guys....Amazing!

    October 9, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. Steve

    For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

    We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

    They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

    Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

    I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.”

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936

    October 9, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. dave

    This is undeniable, blatant voter suppression and the Republican Party is doing it in every state that is close. Democrats better wise up fast. Whatever the Republicans need to do to win, they WILL do, no matter how illegal or undemocratic. Obama was shocked when Romney did a complete 180 from the positions he had been campaigning on. From now on, let's operate on the assumption that the Republicans WILL lie and cheat and do whatever to win and be PREPARED to fight it.

    October 9, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. Core republican Values

    The republicans are crapping all over the once great State of Ohio.

    October 9, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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