U.S. Supreme Court won’t block early voting in Ohio

Debate or no debate, as crucial as this state is to Mitt Romney’s strategy, this could be the biggest news of the day. From the Associated Press:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Supreme Court sided with Democrats on Tuesday in refusing to block a decision over disputed early voting days in the battleground state of Ohio, giving President Barack Obama’s campaign a victory three weeks before the election.

The court refused a request by the state’s Republican elections chief and attorney general to get involved in a battle over early voting on the three days before Election Day.

Obama’s campaign and Ohio Democrats sued the state officials over changes in state law that took away the three days of voting for most people but made exceptions for military personnel and Ohioans living overseas.

Democrats in their lawsuit cited a recent study saying nearly 105,000 people voted in the three days before the election in 2008. They argued everyone should have the chance to vote on those days. And they said eliminating the opportunity for most Ohio residents to vote in person on those days, while giving military or overseas voters the chance to do so, leads to unequal treatment.

Attorneys for the state said many laws already grant military personnel special voting accommodations, such as requirements for states to send absentee ballots to them 45 days before the election. And they argued local boards also need those final days to prepare for the election.

On Oct. 5, a federal appeals court reinstated voting on the weekend and Monday before the election and returned discretion to set hours on those days to local boards of elections.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court last week. He said it opened up the chance for Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections to set different rules, while simultaneously ordering that all voters be treated the same.

Before the changes to the Ohio law, local boards of elections set their own early voting hours. And those hours varied among the state’s counties.

Husted had been accepting boards’ recommendations for hours on the disputed days in the event his appeal wasn’t successful.

Shortly after the high court’s decision, Husted ordered uniform hours across the state. The hours are from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3; from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4; and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5.

Bob Bauer, general counsel for Obama for America, praised the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We now turn our full attention to educating Ohio voters on when and how they can vote along with presenting the clear choice they face when selecting their next president,” Bauer said in a statement.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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27 comments Add your comment

You don't say

October 16th, 2012
2:45 pm

Republicans attempted to provide preference for one segment of the electorate over the rest of the electorate.

BIG FAIL.

DJ Sniper

October 16th, 2012
2:58 pm

The shenanigans of the GOP suffered a big setback today. Now let’s see what else they try to muck up this election.

Mark

October 16th, 2012
3:12 pm

@DJ Sniper

You can bet the GOP has plenty of tricks left to try to throw this election. Bunch of losers!

Georgia

October 16th, 2012
3:28 pm

The early voting exit polls reveal that not one person said they voted for Obama. Not one.

Kris

October 16th, 2012
3:29 pm

Watch your kitchen sink as it will be heir next thing to throw in to muck things up.

Vote the GOP slime out.

Retired Soldier

October 16th, 2012
3:35 pm

You all are correct, republicans wanted special treatment for….people in the military! How dare they, they only fight for your right to vote and to remain free. Those folks ought to be glad we let them vote at all. After all they carry out republicans immoral wars! We all know President Obama is opposed to these immoral wars.

What, what did you say? More U.S. military was killed in 3 plus years of Obama in Afghanistan than under Bush. That…that can’t be true.

But it is.

Voter supression=the democrats. Congratulations.

GaBlue

October 16th, 2012
3:39 pm

…republicans wanted special treatment for….people in the military!

… but voted against the Veteran’s Jobs bill. ‘Cuz they love y’all SOOOOOO much.

Retired Soldier

October 16th, 2012
3:40 pm

GaBlue-

State officals in Ohio had nothing to do with federal legislation. You might refer to PS101 and the different levels of government.

DJ Sniper

October 16th, 2012
3:43 pm

Retired, how in the world did you come to that conclusion? The excerpt for the article clearly states that this lawsuit was to allow all Ohioans to vote early just like military personnel and Ohioans living overseas. Please read the article before jumping to conclusions.

Retired Soldier

October 16th, 2012
3:47 pm

DJ-

“Obama’s campaign and Ohio Democrats sued the state officials over changes in state law that took away the three days of voting for most people but made exceptions for military personnel and Ohioans living overseas.”

The decision ensured the military and those overseas didn’t have three extra days to early vote. I agree, read and digest the article.

jconservative

October 16th, 2012
3:49 pm

Touche’ GaBlue.

Actually the Supreme Court’s ruling is simple: “The application for stay presented to Justice Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied,”. The entire Court, 5 Republicans and 4 Democrats voted on the decision.

Kris

October 16th, 2012
3:51 pm

@Georgia, They did not ask me!

OBAMA/ BIDEN 2012

Road Scholar

October 16th, 2012
3:51 pm

So retired, why did it have to change from the past? Didn’t it work just fine?

Repubs are such weasels!

jconservative

October 16th, 2012
3:52 pm

Retired Soldier

The “military personnel and Ohioans living overseas.” still have their three days. The Court simply said everyone else had the three extra days also.

bill t

October 16th, 2012
3:55 pm

obama’s people have already locked up ohio with fraud in registering a bunch of phony voters–romney has no chance in that state.

Georgia

October 16th, 2012
3:57 pm

The early voting results are in, and all the networks are reporting that Obama has been mathematically eliminated from winning nearly the entire electoral college. I think he has the four electoral college votes in Minnesota. Not even brass knuckles in tonights BaRocky 2 fight can help him now. Not even rubbing powder in Romney’s eyes or thumbing can turn this route around. Not even rabbit punches, hits below the belt, nor rough stuff in the clinches can stop this landslide. They shouldn’t have allowed the early voting.

DJ Sniper

October 16th, 2012
4:04 pm

Georgia, do you have a link or anything to back up that claim? We’ll be waiting.

oscardagrch

October 16th, 2012
4:05 pm

Retired Soldier.

You really need to read it again. You clearly missed the whole point. The point the Democrats are making is that EVERYONE should be able to get those three days to vote, INCLUDING military overseas.

DJ Sniper

October 16th, 2012
4:19 pm

I don’t see how anybody could misconstrue this ruling from the SC. Then again, the GOP did try to convince people earlier that the Obama administration was trying to completely take away voting rights from military personnel overseas.

DJ Sniper

October 16th, 2012
4:32 pm

mehlman rings twice

October 16th, 2012
4:45 pm

GOP voters are like Chicago Cubs fans; they tolerate mediocre leaders because they have a love affair with their team. However, like Dusty Baker, they hate Obama because he tried instill a winning culture but couldn’t overcome their natural pessimism.

jconservative

October 16th, 2012
4:46 pm

For those interested here is the complete order issued by the Court.

“(ORDER LIST: 568 U.S.)
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2012
ORDER IN PENDING CASE 12A338 –
HUSTED, OH SEC. OF STATE, ET AL. V. OBAMA FOR AMERICA, ET AL.

The application for stay presented to Justice Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied.”

This is how the Court handles the vast majority of its cases; one sentence orders.

mehlman rings twice

October 16th, 2012
4:58 pm

DJ Sniper,
Tha’t nothing compared to what officials in Florida did in 2000. They purged thousands of names off voter lists because they were similar to those of convicted felons. If there was a convicted felon named “James L. Johnson”, they purged names in certain communities that were similar like “James R. Johnson”.

Steve Perkins

October 16th, 2012
5:10 pm

All of the following may be attributed to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted:

“Despite the Court’s decision today to deny our request for a stay, I firmly believe Ohio and its elected legislature should set the rules with respect to elections in Ohio, and not the federal court system.

“However, the time has come to set aside the issue for this election.

“Today I have set uniform hours statewide, giving all Ohio voters the same opportunities to vote in the upcoming presidential election regardless of what county they live in.”

The arrogance of his resposne is just so stunning. “The legislature can set the rules… and if we think different countries should have different rules that is our business ” That means in theory You could cut Republican leaning counties to a two hour window on election day.There is no compelling rationale to have different rules in different counties. Gore V. Bush would have been eviscerated if they had ruled for the SOS in this case. This was a pure and simple violation of the 14th Amendment. You can’t have different voting periods based on where you live. All citizen’s votes are equal and all get the same application of the law. Black, white, Republican, Democrat Military or not.

Road Scholar

October 16th, 2012
5:16 pm

bill t: A link? Specifics with names?

Probably not!

Look out for that drone over your right shoulder?

BRW

October 16th, 2012
5:21 pm

Retired Soldier == Selective Reading Comprehension
It took away NO voting dates from anyone. It simply said EVERYONE can vote all those days.

DJ Sniper

October 16th, 2012
5:25 pm

Steve, Scott Walker tried to do something similar in Wisconsin shortly after their voter ID law was passed. He tried to cut the hours that DMV offices in Democratic counties could stay open, while extending the hours for offices in Republican counties.