Ohio secretary of state to appeal early voting ruling to Supreme Court
October 9th, 2012
01:17 PM ET
6 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. Laverne

    It is a right down shame this man and his crooked republican friends continue to try and suppress certain people from voting. Romney knows the only way he can win is to have his buddies try and buy the election along with voter suppression. There is NOTHING honorable, patriotic or American about what these people will do to try and win with Mitt Romney being the leader of the bunch. So much for being a good Christian, oh my badd a good Morman man!!!

    October 9, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. Steve S

    Voter suppression is NOT how a real Democracy is supposed to work!?

    October 9, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |

    So shameful! The Repubteaparty want to destroy this country!

    October 9, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. Terry

    You know it seems to me if its a "federal" election then the federal courts should have a say. If a state wants to separate out the state races and local races then go for it but if you choose to run them all together to save money, then the federal courts should have jurisdiction over how they are ran. I even think we should go to a system where every state has to do the federal elections by the same rules for everybody.

    October 9, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. Canadian Jim

    I think it's time for legitimate democracies to oversee the running of American elections.

    October 9, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Terry

    One other thing, I didn't hear any of the Republicans screaming when the Supreme Court ruled in the Bush Vs Gore case.

    October 9, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. charlesName

    The voters should be able to vote early. Like me, I work out of state. I should be able to vote early or when I want too. The GOP. Judys wants us not to vote. Obama 2012 save our eat of life as Americans.

    October 9, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Tree

    Romey is stealing the election...................................

    October 9, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. mb2010a

    The really sad part is that the Republicans are trying this kind of crap in every state, not just Ohio. They were dead serious when they said they would do everything they could to prevent Obama from being re-elected, up to and including anything illegal. They must really be scared of losing this election...as they should be. Obama 2012...

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

    LOL – trying to limit the inner city Democrat Vote Fraud Machine from flooding the polls with illegals and dead people. Shame on you, Mitt Romney!

    October 9, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Harry Pelham

    Too Funny! Looks like Democrats are sweating it Beaucoup Big Time since they lost the services of "ACORN" this here time as opposed the 2008 Election! I reckon them Democrats don't rightly cherish the thought of being unable to Stuff nor Steal Ballot Boxes like they done been doing fer over a 100-years! Seems funny how yawl needs proper I.D. to rightly sign-up and receive Yo Obama "FREE" Money but do not need it to rightly go and Vote??? Oy Vey!

    October 9, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Jeff

    While I fail to see the point of this, if you have 33 other days in which to vote, I fail to see how you are being hurt by it. I challenge anyone to come up with a scenario in which that one weekend is available to you to vote, but you can't make it any of the 30 some days before, or the day of. In all honesty, I'd rather lop off a few weeks at the beginning. And yes, I would exclude military on those days too.

    In a world where people risk being shot to exercise their right to vote, I really cannot stand people complaining about how inconvenient it is to only have only 33 days to vote, or they have to stand outside where it might rain, or that it is too confusing to push a box next to a candidates name, or etc.

    October 9, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Agent Provocateur

    What document says voting sall be the first Tuesday in November? Ok so then it is the first Tuesday. There are so many people that DO NOT VOTE do we really need absentee ballots? Do we need early voting? Vote in person, prove who the hell you are and go vote on Tuesday. This absentee crap and alternative days has got to go. Dems are little little school children crying and lying all the time. States provide FREE identification, make the effort to get one. Then make the effort to vote. In Bob Schieffer's book This just in what I couldnt say on TV. tells a story of how Lyndon Johnson received alot of absentee ballots, in fact in one county it was amazing as they received and recorded this votes but you know what? They all came in alpabetically. Imagine that? What are the odds?

    October 9, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. @GuileOfTheGods

    See, what's really funny is you only see Republicans trying to prevent people from voting. I wonder why you don't see any Democrats trying to do that...

    October 9, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Bart

    Husted said this was an "unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections." He obviously has not read a U.S. history book. The federal government gets involved when there is a law surrounding voting that violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. I thought all Republicans are Constitutional scholars. Sounds like they need to brush up.

    October 9, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Valar Morghulis

    It is no more an intrusion than occurred in the 2000 presidential election.

    October 9, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Jeff

    In Michigan, I have one day to vote. Election day. If I cannot make it that day, I mail in my ballot, I don't get special in-person voting days an entire month prior.

    If it is discriminatory in Ohio to not allow these days of early voting, why is Michigan not the same?

    October 9, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Jeff

    In Michigan, I have one day to vote. Election day. If I cannot make it that day, I mail in my ballot, I don't get special in-person voting days an entire month prior.

    If it is discriminatory in Ohio to not allow these days of early voting, why is Michigan not the same?

    October 9, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. mark

    This is very troubling that the republicans are trying to suppress the vote..

    October 9, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. tplife

    Thank God for the Federal Courts stepping in on an almost daily basis (as the election draws close of course) and ensuring that no election restriction, no matter how well it reinforces "one man, one vote" and prevents votor fraud, shall be tolerated. Where are these white knights the rest of the year when they could be running our states and citizenry in so many other wonderful ways? I want my Mammy!

    October 9, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. The REAL Truth...

    Since this is a Federal Election, I'd think the Feds have full rights in dictating how it is run! The GOP is fully aware that limiting voter access is the only way to win the election. Buying it is failing miserably, so this is plan B.

    October 9, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Steve

    The states by constitutional law have the right to setup the voting process for electors any way they wish. You can cry foul with Bushes 2000 election all you want but his case was that Florida voting law should be SUPPORTED as it stood. This is unconstitutional and their appeal to the supreme court is justified. ESPECIALLY because a sitting president wields undue influence on these procedings at any level less than the supreme court. The only opinions that matter are those of the government of Ohio and it's citizens and apparently (and UNCONSATITUTIONALLY) that of the president and the federal courts.

    October 9, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. livingston

    What are they afraid of? Why don't they want people to vote? In America the right to cast your vote should not be interfered with by some petty bureaucrats with an agenda. Could it be that they are afraid that they won't vote republican? Sure looks that way to me and it stinks to high heaven.

    October 9, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Chanda

    I am ashamed to call myself a Buckeye. This man is down right embarassing. It is beyond my comprehension why ANYBODY would be against a ruling that would allow as many people as possible to particiapte in the democratic election process in this country. We can send our troops around the world to fight for democracy in foreign lands, and we have idiots like this trying to kill democracy right here in the United States. The real story is that over 70% of early voters in Ohio in 2008 were African American, and they know the vast majority of those votes were for Barack Obama. Voter supression is not going to work. Get a new plan Husted!

    October 9, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Big Jilm

    Funny the GOP wants to help prevent those people from voting early that have to work on election day.

    That's because Liberals actually work and GOP voters fake back injuries and are free all darn day to vote and pick on the elderly, kids, and the poor.

    Who would Jesus repress?

    October 9, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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