An Ohio federal appeals court has ruled against a Republican-backed law that would have infringed upon the state's early voting system. The Obama campaign touts this ruling as a legal victory being that early voting is what helped President Obama win the state in 2008.
In the case, Republicans claimed that only Ohioan military personnel should be able to cast their vote three days before Election Day, however Democrats argued that that would restrict early voting rights from civilians and prevent voters from getting to the polls in November.
The court ruled:
“While we readily acknowledge the need to provide military voters more time to vote, we see no corresponding justification for giving others less time.”
The Huffington Post reports:
The Obama presidential campaign and the Democratic Party had sued the state, asking a federal court to restore voting during those last three days on the grounds that Ohio-ans would not have equal access to the polls otherwise. The law allowed military families to vote over that period. The lawsuit argued that everyone should be allowed the same access.
The Ohio county, Cuyahoga County, argued against the lawsuit that it helped the voting process:
The ruling questioned Ohio's stated motivation, noting that the lower court heard evidence to the contrary. "Ohio’s most populous county, Cuyahoga County, asserted that maintaining in-person early voting would actually alleviate some of its burden by spreading out the demand for voting over more days, thus reducing lines and wait times at polling places on Election Day."
The site also states that effects of the ruling are “still very much in the air,” reporting:
Republican Secretary of State John Husted had refused to restore those three days of early voting after the lower court decision. And the appellate court decision expressly leaves the final decision about whether to keep the polls open or not on those days to individual county elections boards.
Those election boards have two members each from either party -- and the Republican secretary of state is the tiebreaker if necessary. So it's easy to envision a scenario in which Husted still blocks voting on those three days in predominantly urban and Democratic counties.
Husted's office has given no indication on it's next step, but we're glad to see that Ohio like Florida, Wisconsin and a few other states is not supporting laws that restrict voters from casting their ballots in the 2012 election!