Axelrod: Team Romney launching 'shameful' attack on voting rights lawsuit
August 5th, 2012
12:58 PM ET
11 years ago

Axelrod: Team Romney launching 'shameful' attack on voting rights lawsuit

(CNN) - David Axelrod, senior campaign adviser to President Barack Obama, forcefully hit back Sunday against accusations that the president's re-election team was trying to curb early voting rights for Ohio military voters and those residing overseas.

Mitt Romney's campaign said Saturday that a lawsuit filed by Team Obama against Ohio's secretary of state targets military voters by saying "it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state's early voting period."

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"At least 20 times in their legal papers, they argue that there is no good reason to give special flexibility to military voters – and that this policy adopted by the Ohio legislature is so wrong it is unconstitutional," Katie Biber, general counsel for the Romney campaign, said in a statement.

Axelrod said the Romney argument distorts the facts. In Ohio, recent election reforms in the GOP-controlled legislature eliminated the three-day window running up to Election Day - Saturday, Sunday and Monday - from the early voting calendar. Those living overseas and members of the military, however, are still allowed to take advantage of those three days and cast their absentee ballots.

The lawsuit, filed in mid-July, calls on the state to return the three-day voting weekend for all Ohio voters, not just members of the military.

Axelrod said Romney's campaign has misconstrued the lawsuit in a way that is "completely false and misleading."

"What that lawsuit calls for is not to deprive the military of the right to vote in the final weekend of the campaign. Of course they should have that right. What that suit is about is whether the rest of Ohio should have the same right, and I think it's shameful that Gov. Romney would hide behind our servicemen and women," Axelrod said on "Fox News Sunday."

Obama's campaign has also accused Ohio's state government of "partisan" attempts to restrict voting.

According to CNN national exit polling data, those who had served in the military voted 54% for Sen. John McCain and 44% for Obama in the 2008 election.

In an interview with CNN last month, Secretary of State Jon Husted chided the idea that the new law was politically motivated and said the three days were needed to help state workers prepare for Election Day.

"You need those last three days for the local (election) boards to get their records straight," said Husted, a Republican. "Make sure their voting rolls are accurate."

Husted made the case that it's "extremely easy" to vote in Ohio and highlighted the 35-day early voting time period, or "790 hours" as he put it, available for voters to cast their ballot. The state has also made it possible, he said, for every voter to vote by absentee ballot "from the comfort of their own home."

Obama's campaign, however, says it's standing up for thousands of voters who could take advantage of that final weekend before Election Day in Ohio, a crucial battleground state. Axelrod said Sunday the Romney campaign should get a better understanding of what exactly the lawsuit aims to achieve.

"They need to look at the lawsuit and they need to know that that lawsuit, it stands up for the right of the military service people to vote early. But it wants that right for everybody in Ohio," Axelrod said.

Some military groups, though, side with the state of Ohio in the lawsuit, including 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 said that "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."

In the Romney campaign statement, Biber said it was "despicable" for Team Obama to challenge the Ohio law.

"The Obama campaign may not like the early voting policy that the Ohio legislature set. This does not mean the policy is unconstitutional, and it certainly does not mean that a federal court should be permitted to remake it," she said.

- CNN's Gregory Wallace and Lindsey Knight contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • David Axelrod • Ohio
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Bren

    Team Obama tried to stop the military votes from being counted in 2008 as well. And, they definitely do not want the military votes being counted this election--when all polls show that the military supports Romney by at least 20 points over Obama. Obama and the liberals are sickening......They do everything/anything to try to let illegals vote, but they do not want our military votes to be counted. Romney and the Republicans definitely need to make sure that this gets a lot of attention before the election-as there are a LOT of military and their families in every state, who definitely will not be happy about this!!

    August 5, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |

    Shameful republicans at it again. Taking voting right away fro Americans! Shameful. The Repub/tea party has turned it's back on god and country!

    August 5, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens is not very bright, and he made a statement about the lawsuit without understanding the merits. Just the guy you want reading security reports?

    August 5, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Military groups don't think Ohio civilians should have the same voting rights afforded the military in Ohio? Does the military know what they are fighting for?

    August 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    So much for "Liberty and Justice for all."

    August 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. labman57

    An accurate account of this lawsuit has been made abundantly clear by every news network covering this story ... except, of course, FOX News.

    And, of course, the right wing blogosphere chomps at the bit whenever the opportunity arises to spread these types of misleading stories and deceive their readers.

    But most pathetically (although not really surprisingly), Romney has decided to use this bit of disinformation as a campaign talking point.

    August 5, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Howard

    Everyone knows that Obama's real reason for trying to suppress military votes is because our military doesn't support Obama ... and, Obama would throw our military under the bus in a heart beat, if it would allow him to win reelection.

    August 5, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Bill

    Voter Suppression Laws,are an Attempt by the teaparty lead Gop,to Illegally win the election, and a Violation of the Civil Rights Act!!! Their calling for an end to Democracy, Civil Rights and Human Rights! Vote them, Gone!!!! Obama-Biden 2012! Secretary Clinton-Elizibeth Warren 2016!!!!

    August 5, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. MrC`

    I've read four articles in a row that all featured Axlerod, the president's personal reptile, tell four demonstrable lies in a row. He and his staff, well, even the president for that matter, throw out one whopper after another. Maybe the folks all wound up about the "Twilight" stars sad state of love believes it but not too many others I think.

    August 5, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Pander Bear

    Way to suppress the vote Romney.

    August 5, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    This is all you need to read:

    "In Ohio, recent election reforms in the GOP-controlled legislature eliminated the three-day window running up to Election Day – Saturday, Sunday and Monday – from the early voting calendar. Those living overseas and members of the military, however, are still allowed to take advantage of those three days and cast their absentee ballots.

    "The lawsuit, filed in mid-July, calls on the state to return the three-day voting weekend for all Ohio voters, not just members of the military."

    President Obama's administration is trying to keep Ohio's GOP-controlled legislature from disenfranchising voters and the GOP turns this into an attack against the military?

    Evil, the GOP is simply evil. And the folks who vote Republican this fall are traitorous fools.

    August 5, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Thomas

    What is shamful is having five sons who avoided voluntary military service .

    Romney / out sourcing the military for a better tomorrow 2012.

    August 5, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. zago

    After reviewing 20 years of tax returns, then-senator McCain concluded that Gov Palin was more qualified to be VP than Gov Robmey in 2008. Release the returns gov Robmey so that we have an idea how sen. McCain came to his conclusion and that you have not robbed America. What are you hiding, sir?

    August 5, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. once upon a horse

    Romney distorts the facts? SO when is this news? Meanwhile the horse just dances on!

    August 5, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    I bet Fox and Limbaugh and Hannity and all the other GOP lying lackeys are out there in full force saying President Obama is against our military.

    How did America go from the leader of the free world to a nation of idiots? PLEASE, all you Democrats, Independents and thinking Republicans, VOTE FOR OBAMA/BIDEN and a Democratic House and Senate in November!

    If you don't and Mittens wins, not only will his economic policies take us so far down the drain that Dubya will look like the good old days, his appointments to the Supreme Court will ensure our demise for generations to come.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    August 5, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. Myviewis

    Bottom line, why should the military have the right, treatment, accomodation to vote early and not all Ohioans? What makes the military so special that they get to vote early and not Ohioans? The way I understand it is that Obama's argument of the lawsuit and the decision Obama seeks from a judge is to either grant all Ohioans early voting equal to the military or remove the early voting granted to the military if Ohioans cannot vote early.

    If I understand Obama's lawsuit wrong than what other outcome could result from the lawsuit? I can't imagine Obama not asking for a different result than that of the one I have concluded.

    So then Romney is correct, Obama would be seeking to remove from the military the early voting treatment, accomodation that has been granted to them.

    August 5, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Rosslaw

    Romney hides his income offshore in the Caymans with the criminal class to avoid taxes. He then pretends to care about the military whom he avoids supporting in any way. About normal.

    August 5, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. rla

    Obama has never stood up for a voter who could not be bought Chicago Ethics) Anyone who does not understand that we need to have clean elections that can be believed in is a dolt first class! Eelctions need this so don't be led astray by the scoundrals who would have the vote fraud continue....

    August 5, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Darryl

    The Republican Party will try to do anything possible to eliminate as may votes as they can. Their afraid and scared to death that people are going to come out once again to vote for the POTUS. Thats exactly how they feel and NOTHING is going to stop it in any way. He is a threat to the way things heve been done in Washington and they have allot of Big Money people backing them to keep things in Washington as is. Their not stupid. Pres. Obamas watch-Dogs ? Their everywhere now and they do NOT like it.

    August 5, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. B.

    The Republicans have launched the most intensive effort by -Red States- to inhibit voters known to be likely Democratic. The Justice Department should be All over the GOP for repressive requirements on the elderly, younger, poor and ethic peoples rights to vote without hinderances!

    The Republicans have turned into the most repressive party in Red States and the Congress to inhibit legislation on Healthcare, Women’s rights, Jobs programs,Education, Environmental, and energy programs. Now they are attempting to Buy the election literally.

    Important choices for voters this time around.

    August 5, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. jaimie

    Mr. Romney, you sir need to show tax paid on your offshore business. It takes honesty and integrity to be President of the United States of America. We americans pay our fair share of tax monthly out of our hard earned monthly wage. Mr, Romney, show us the tax paid on your off shore dealings. You wont because you have something to hide. You sir do not have the honesty and integrity to run for presidency let alone being in the office of the President of the United States of America.

    August 5, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. Patrick in Minnesota

    The Republicans have NO credibility on this subject. In my state, they're trying to get an amendment passed that would require voters to present State issued photo ID (no passports, military ID, medicare card, etc.) and would eliminate same day registration and absentee voting. I guess democracy is just too risky for them now.

    August 5, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Dave Harris

    The fact is that most military people support Obama. They're tired of all the wars and grateful that he hasn't started any new ones. Don't expect that from Romney, who rallies his ignorant, xenophobic base by promising to attack more foreigners. He'll also resume torturing prisoners (and probably re-hire Chaney for that job), which puts our military people in at awkward position when they're captured, to say the least.

    August 5, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. Craig

    Republicans always distort the facts.

    August 5, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Anna

    No Axelrod is that the DNC would even think of doing this to the miiitary in Ohio – which state will be next? This will fly through the military media and families – shame on you DNC for filing suit aganst the militay ad shane on anyone who believes our military deserves this slap in the face – they deserve a commander in chief who is more concerned about them and helping them be part ofthe process than manipulating voting.

    August 5, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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