Judge pauses Ohio early voting restriction
August 31st, 2012
06:13 PM ET
11 years ago

Judge pauses Ohio early voting restriction

(CNN) - A federal court in Ohio on Friday ruled that a change in the state's early voting procedures, which closed polls to most individuals the weekend prior to Election Day, was "likely" unconstitutional and granted a request from the Obama campaign to put enforcement of the law on hold.

The court acknowledged an argument that "low-income and minority voters are disproportionately affected by elimination" of the three days of polling for many voters and said "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.

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A federal district court in Ohio issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, 67 days out from the November election.

President Barack Obama's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party brought the state to court this summer, arguing that the state's two different deadlines for in-person early voting would disenfranchise some voters.

Laws recently passed by the state's Republican-led legislature and signed by the Republican governor would close the polls to many voters at 6 p.m. the Friday before an election.

A federal law, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (UOCAVA), would continue to require the state to allow some qualified voters to cast ballots during that window. The law covers those serving in the military, their family members, and U.S. citizens living overseas.

The court found that voters "have a constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election - and all elections - on an equal basis with all Ohio voters, including UOCAVA voters," and noted that the Obama campaign had submitted "statistical studies to support their assertion that low-income and minority voters are disproportionately affected by the elimination of those voting days."

Among other precedents, the court cited the Supreme Court's finding in Bush v. Gore, the case which effectively decided the 2000 election.

Legal action over voting regulations, such as voter identification, is underway in several states. As a key battleground state, the November result in Ohio is especially important.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Secretary of State's office said the ruling is being reviewed and had no further comment.

In the 2008 election, nearly three in ten Ohio ballots were cast before Election Day, and 93,000 ballots were cast in the three days before Election Day.

Filed under: 2012 • Ohio
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Pander Bear

    But without voter suppression how can the GOP compete!?!?!

    August 31, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. TheVoice2

    Republican state legislatures are trying to cheat their way to win the election. Unfortunately Pennsylvania did not prevent the cheating.

    August 31, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Pete

    Hey republicans remember stealing Gore votes so Bush could win,don't say it didn't happen because of Jeb .The head of Floridas voters commission had to resign under pressure from federal authorities.It was later found that republicans working as pollsters stole thousands of voters ballots and put them in dumpsters behind voters polling places making it a federal offense but by than Gore already conceded the election to Bush...Yah scared it might happen to you,voter supression my butt,you're scared of a landslide vote for Pres.Obama,have fun it ain't working is it!!

    August 31, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. Iamnotfooled

    Good. Thanks Judge for doing what is right.

    August 31, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. jane

    GOP is trying to steal the election AGAIN....just as they did in 2000...this time we the people won't just take what the GOP is pushing

    August 31, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. ValarMorghulis

    The Republicans concerted effort to prevent voting by those likely to cast ballots for Obama are being overturned. No doubt the Republicans will scream that activist judges are subverting the law.

    Romney/Ryan the Vulture/Voucher Team are going to loose in November. The Republicans need to face up to reality.


    August 31, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. Lyla M

    Good for this judge. The transparency of this slimy GOP tactic is glaring and outrageous. What is wrong with these people? What a waste of taxpayer money. The TeaParty has been a gigantic failure and obstruction to progress in this country.

    August 31, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. MOM8385

    This will disappoint many republicans looking to reduce the number of American citizens voting for the President.

    August 31, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. John D

    It's depressing to see vote suppression efforts proliferating in the United States, and especially in "swing" states.
    I think that, generally speaking, the more people vote, the less polarized the parties will be–and polarization, make no mistake, is the main problem in American politics right now.

    I wish, that said, that the judge on this file had been a Republican appointee; that would have defused some of the inevitable criticism that this was a partisan decision.

    August 31, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  10. Kimberly

    another win for America today, and a loss for the bs right wingers!

    August 31, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    first down here in Texas they said the new voter laws were unfair, now they have Ohio's changes being questioned. Unless the entire legal system is made up of far left liberals and I know that it is NOT maybe another look needs to be taken by those who think just showing a photo ID should not be a big deal. I thought that way too UNTIL I found out more what it would take for some people to get one and the cost and what they have to go through to get it...and it's not just minorities either but it does appear to go against groups that tend to vote Democratic. I wounder why that is?

    August 31, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  12. Sanity

    Interesting. Obama is also trying to restrict early voting in Ohio for members of the military.

    August 31, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. Martin Chiaravalloti

    Just another case of the GOP trying to further a strategy that essentialy says; If you can't beat 'em, cheat 'em.

    August 31, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  14. vickoko

    thxs judge.they want to steal d election by all means possible.

    d painfull thing is that they call themselves xtains .but will lie or steal to win.

    August 31, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. Alfred

    Have you noticed its republicans trying to deny equal voting opportunties to minorities.

    August 31, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  16. kathy/Minnesota

    Looks like hate doesn't always win.

    August 31, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  17. Searcher

    Well, the Courts seem to favor extended voting more than Republicans do. Good decision!

    August 31, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  18. T'sah From Virginia

    Another victory – PA is next!!!!! Think about it, if it is illegal in two states, suppression the vote, then it's illegal over the entire country!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    August 31, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  19. dahditdah

    I guess you can add one more group to the already long list of Republicans targets. It now includes anybody that isn't free during working hours to just amble off to a voting station whenever they please. Or maybe just voters in general. No crooked politician wants even one more vote cast than what it took them to get elected in the first place.

    August 31, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  20. DENNA

    My fellow Americans, if Mitt Romney wins, it will be a lie. The GOP is not interested in winning, they are trying to pull a Third World Coup and they want the pesky American public to help them. If you aren't scared by now, you should be.

    August 31, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  21. Mike A

    I'm not against the ruling, but how does this specifically affect only minorities and lower income voters instead of everyone? Not looking for a fight, just a brief explanation thanks

    August 31, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  22. Dave R.

    There is data that shows only 10 true cases of voter impersonation (fraud) since 2000. If Republicans can't win an election honestly, they will cheat by changing the rules.

    August 31, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  23. Jerri Finkley

    barring an appeal from the State,this should be a wake up call to the voters.Do what is necessary to vote.Dont become complacent.The right to vote in this November election is critical,don't allow those that seek to disenfranchise us the victory over us that they seek,which is to discourage us from voting.A victory for Ohio,Texas,and hopefully in the other States as well that are facing legal challenges to their changes in the voting process.OBAMA/BIDEN2012...

    August 31, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  24. Cathy

    We should be trying to make voting easier for all American citizens, not more difficult. Making people wait ten hours in line to vote, rather than provide enough equipment or polling places is a national disgrace.

    August 31, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  25. bspurloc

    gop at war against voters.....
    fear mongering voter fraud mongering

    August 31, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
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