Federal Judge Blocks Ohio Early Voting Restrictions

Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivers his State of the State address at Wells Academy/Steubenville High School Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in Steubenville, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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A federal judge has blocked Ohio’s cutbacks to early voting just two months before the midterm elections.

U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus, a Clinton appointee, granted a preliminary injunction after a coalition of voting rights advocates sued on the grounds that the restrictions violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The lawsuit challenges a law enacted this year which scaled back early in-person voting from 35 to 28 days and eliminated “Golden Week,” where Ohioans could register and vote in the same week.

“The judge found as a matter of fact (crediting expert reports of the plaintiffs’ especially that of U. Florida’s Dan Smith) that the cutbacks in early voting would disproportionately fall on African-Americans,” wrote Rick Hasen, an election law professor at UC-Irvine. “The judge found that early voters, especially in the larger population areas of the state, included a large portion of the state’s share of African-American voters. The judge also found that African-American voters were distrustful of absentee balloting as an alternative to in person voting, and that absentee balloting was more burdensome (filling out the materials, postage, mailing, etc.).”

The next step is for the challenge to be heard by a trial court. The case features a number of complicated legal questions about proper limits on voting restrictions; it could elevate to an appeals court and potentially even the Supreme Court. In the meantime, restrictions on early voting are not expected to apply in the midterm elections.

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the group challenging the cutbacks, called the injunction “a huge victory for Ohio voters and for all those who believe in protecting the integrity of our elections.”

Ohio Early Voting Case – Injunction

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  1. Avatar for Drea Drea says:

    Republicans are so transparently not interested in actually being accountable to their employers.

  2. One of the first things I hope for when Hillary and her supermajority in congress are sworn in is to make voting simple and easy for every single American citizen. I’m fucking sick of Republicans winning because they jack with poor people.

  3. Right, TLQ. We need a system of voting that is fair and honest and that redresses the crimes of the past where GOP bosses simply made you work overtime on Tuesday. No more of this one odd day to vote bullshit.
    I want a Constitutional amendment!

  4. Clearly the GOP is losing the war on women, medicaid expansion and voter suppression in the court of public opinion. The only remaining question, will the voters smack their hands to send a message to the Supreme Court.

  5. Oregon’s all-mail system is wonderful. Fill out the ballot on your own time. Drop it off or mail it (no postage needed) on your own time. No polling place antics. No one handing out literature while you wait in line. Hell, no lines at all (unless you’re waiting til the last minute to drop it off).

    Forcing hundreds of millions of people to be processed through physical locations is so last century.

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