U.S. Supreme Court rejects Ohio’s early voting appeal
The United States Supreme Court today denied a last-minute appeal by Ohio’s Secretary of State to eliminate in-person early voting for non-military voters in the final three days before the November election.
The high court’s ruling in Husted v. Obama means that all Ohio voters will be allowed to cast in-person ballots on the weekend and Monday before Nov. 6th.
According to the official state website MyOhioVote.com, polls in all counties will be opened on the following days for early in-person voting:
Saturday, November 3: 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 4: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday, November 5: 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a directive in August to eliminate weekend in-person early voting hours for all non-military voters, citing the “burden” on local election boards. However, Husted carved out an exemption to allow military service members to cast in-person ballots on the weekend before the election.
Earlier this month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Husted from implementing his directive, ruling that eliminating weekend voting hours would disenfranchise nearly 100,000 voters – mostly women, seniors, and low-income individuals – who usually vote in person on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before the general election.
The court indicated that Husted’s directive would favor military voters (who are more inclined to support Republican candidates) over non-military voters, particularly women and seniors (who are more inclined to support Democratic candidates).
The court pointed out that it would be “worrisome” if “states were permitted to pick and choose among groups of similarly situated voters to dole out special voting privileges. Partisan state legislatures could give extra early voting time to groups that traditionally support the party in power and impose corresponding burdens on the other party’s core constituents.”
Since Ohio introduced in-person early voting in 2005, the state has allowed all registered voters to cast their ballots in person at their local board of election office up to 35 days – including on the weekend and Monday – before the general election.
Ohio adopted early voting in response to the 2004 election where long lines turned prevented a significant number of voters, particularly working class voters, from voting on election day. President George W. Bush won Ohio by a 2.1% margin in 2004, giving the Republican incumbent the decisive 20 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
- Supreme Court: Order in Husted v. Obama – Oct. 16, 2012 (PDF)
- WhatTheFolly.com: Ohio Secretary of State to appeal court ruling to allow weekend early voting
- WhatTheFolly.com: Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted reveals GOP’s plans to make voter ID requirements more ‘onerous’
- 6th Circuit Court of Appeals: Obama v. Husted opinion issued on Oct. 5, 2012 (PDF)
- Ohio Secretary of State: Secretary Husted to appeal federal court decision to the U.S. Supreme Court
- Dispatch.com: Cleveland billboard warns of voter fraud
- TheGrio.com: Ohio voter fraud billboard accused of intimidating black voters