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

    This is as naked a ploy to disenfranchise people who would be severely affected by taking a day off work (The poor) as I've ever heard of. Truly. How anyone can, with a straight face, say that this is about "letting the polling places get ready before tuesday" is beyond me. If you really need to get it together... HOW ABOUT NOW? IS NOW A GOOD TIME FOR YOU? YOU'VE GOT A MONTH!

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

    You have not heard Romney and the GPO address the voter suppression issue, because they feel that this will help him to win. Romney is lying to America and stealing your VOTE.

    October 9, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. John the Historian

    Stop voter suppression. Republicans are only scared President Obama will win Ohio. They know if Willard loses Ohio he loses the election. Do not vote for this non-Christian flip flopper. When does Willard start supporting Gay rights and abortion rights again. Willard go either to Nauvoo, Illinois and wait for your polygamist Jesus Christ or go to the planet kolob and get your 70 virgin wives like the rapist Brigham Young or maybe you want 87 wives like the rapist Joseph Smith. BTW take those 200 pound gold tablets with you, if you can find it.

    October 9, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. xman

    Republicans and their vote suppressing tactics. Amazing this party still has support.

    October 9, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. DC1973

    They're not trying to stop "rampant voter fraud," because it doesn't exist. They're trying to stop United States citizens from voting.

    Big difference.

    October 9, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Borderless

    Giving people a month to vote is not voter surpression! Grow up!

    October 9, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. prairieguy

    Just trying to run out the clock and contiune to confuse voters

    October 9, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Borderless

    Asking people to show their id is not voter surpression! As a legal US citizen you need an id to drive, to get a prescription, to have a bank account, to get a cell phone, to enter or leave the country, to rent an apartment, to notarize anything, to go to college...
    It is not voter surpression to ask for an id to vote! Quit whining!

    October 9, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. MrApplesauce

    Partisan secretary of state fights for partisan reasons for a partisan result in his state's election.

    Yeah... no conflict of interest there.

    October 9, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. Tony

    John the Historian = John the Bigot

    October 9, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Remember Kathryn Harrris from 2000? Whatever happened to that "thing"? Turns out, she was soon cast to the political curb by none-other that the G. Bush GOP, as soon as it became clear that she was a national "undesirable" after she had so willingly sullied herself doing the Bush campaign's dirty work in FLA.

    Look ahead to 2020...just where do you think Jon Husted wil be?

    October 9, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. Once a Republican

    It doesn't matter if you're a democrat, republican, anything in between. This should smack you as ridiculous. I think anyone with half a brain knows voter fraud is not this BIG problem to be addressed in 2012 (suddenly) What a waste of money and the good name I used to associate with Republicans. No more, no way, no how! You've all grabbed hands and jumped off the deep end of insanity. Four years ago I let go, and boy am I glad I did. Republican's didn't get better. They got worse.

    October 9, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It is interesting to note that we haven't heard a peep from the Republicans in regards to the furor surrounding voter suppression.
    Don't Republicans vote?
    You'd think that BOTH parties would want whoever is trying to suppress the vote to stop....oh, wait.
    Obama 2012.

    October 9, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. sammieb51

    Borderless you are clueless, the Ohio action has nothing to do with ID laws.

    October 9, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Sorensen

    Mr. Husted is obviously an uninformed idiot totally unable to run his miserable, little job. What a disgrace for Ohio.

    October 9, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. a little sad

    There is already precedent that the fedral government can step into state voting process, in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The consitutionality is black letter law.

    October 9, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Michael Dineen

    This voter suppression is a naked attempt to steal an election. If the republicans truly have a better way to govern let them show it to by winning the votes fairly. The only voter fraud has been by them (ie.) Florida. I can't believe that our news outlets don't call them out on it. Oh that right they don't want to be partisan? So they don't report news Edward R Morrow would be embarrassed by these light weight reporters of today

    October 9, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. MaryM

    It is voter suppression when you change the law and do not give voters that do not have acceptable ID enough time to get that acceptable ID

    October 9, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. sassysticks53

    LOL! The GOP hasn't given up trying to steal this election by using voter suppression. Bring it on, GOP! We are ready for you!

    October 9, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. demwit

    Just because Florida foud hundreds of illegals registered to votedoesn't mean we should try to stop everyone from voting.

    October 9, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. Name w.bullock

    I know that God don't like what about gay and lesbain but I am not gay alright

    October 9, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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