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Oct 09 2012

Appeals Court Upholds Ohio Early Voting Ruling

Remember that outrageous lie the Republicans told about the Obama campaign trying to deprive military personnel from voting in Ohio? The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the district court ruling that rejected that lie and restored early voting for all Ohio residents.

Plaintiffs introduced extensive evidence that a significant number of Ohio voters will in fact be precluded from voting without the additional three days of in-person early voting. The district court credited statistical studies that estimated approximately 100,000 Ohio voters would choose to vote during the three-day period before Election Day, and that these voters are disproportionately “women, older, and of lower income and education attainment.” The district court concluded that the burden on Plaintiffs was “particularly high” because their members, supporters, and constituents represent a large percentage of those who participated in early voting in past elections. The State did not dispute the evidence presented by Plaintiffs, nor did it offer any evidence to contradict the district court’s findings of fact. Plaintiffs did not need to show that they were legally prohibited from voting, but only that “burdened voters have few alternate means of access to the ballot.”

The State argues that the burden on non-military voters is slight because they have “ample” other means to cast their ballots, including by requesting and mailing an absentee ballot, voting in person prior to the final weekend before Election Day, or on Election Day itself. However, the district court concluded that because early voters have disproportionately lower incomes and less education than election day voters, and because all evening and weekend voting hours prior to the final weekend were eliminated by Directive 2012-35, “thousands of voters who would have voted during those three days will not be able to exercise their right to cast a vote in person.”

We should be thankful that most of the measures the Republicans have attempted to put in place to suppress the vote have been rejected by the courts around the country. Not all of them, but most of them at least.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Tabby Lavalamp

    If this were the other way around, the Republicans would be red-faced frothing at the mouth about how Democrats hate democracy… and they wouldn’t be wrong. Why aren’t the Democrats making more noise about Republicans actually and truly hating democracy?

  2. 2
    baal

    I’m having a strong urge to donate to that judge’s reelection campaign…which seems wrong of me. I’m conflicted because I don’t want judges to feel rewarded for specific rulings yet I’m happy this judge is being brave and bucking the desire of the State (which generally acts like a thumb on the scale or is at least considered in and of itself).

  3. 3
    John Hinkle

    Oh well, time to dispatch the republican poll challengers.

    Hey, someone’s gotta keep voter fraud under control.

  4. 4
    RW Ahrens

    Note, however, as Rachael Maddow has, that the State has not changed their public information campaigns much, and when they did, it was only under pressure.

    The final affect is the same as having the law in place if people don’t KNOW it has been shot down by the courts. Which is what the Republican led election offices in Ohio have in mind…

  5. 5
    D. C. Sessions

    I’m having a strong urge to donate to that judge’s reelection campaign

    “That judge” is a Federal Appellate Court panel of three judges, and the original ruling was by a Federal District Court. No re-election required.

    Not that thank-you cards would necessarily be wrong, though.

    Especially considering that the District Court was the one that ordered the Ohio Secretary of State to appear in person when he decided that he didn’t need to obey the original ruling because he was considering an appeal. It looks like we may be in for another round of that, because Husted is thinking of requesting an en banc rehearing, and in the meantime is putting off implementing the 6th Circuit’s order upholding the original District Court ruling.

    Either Husted didn’t get the message the first time or he’s preparing to take one for the team.

  6. 6
    J Myers (no relation)

    Why aren’t the Democrats making more noise about Republicans actually and truly hating democracy?

    No idea. I’d really like an answer to this question, myself. Why can Republicans whine and scream and pout like spoiled children about the silliest of issues yet gain traction with their complaints, but democrats never manage to make any sort of forceful complaint about actual issues of import? Why did Obama stand their last week and smile sheepishly all night while Romney “corrected” him with utter fabrications?

  7. 7
    J Myers (no relation)

    … there.

  8. 8
    Modusoperandi

    J Myers (no relation),
    1. Because both parties are equivalent. If one person from one party has done something out of the pale and the other party as a group has done the same, both parties are equivalent.
    2. Because a scrappy, dirty-fighting Republican is expected. They aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Boys will be boys. It’s just politics. You know.*
    3. 1 and 2 are both true at the same time.

    * Watch them run to the fainting couch when a Democrat speaks up, though.

  9. 9
    chrisclc

    …because Husted is thinking of requesting an en banc rehearing, and in the meantime is putting off implementing the 6th Circuit’s order upholding the original District Court ruling.

    I heard on the radio on the drive home today that Husted is in fact asking the SCOTUS to hear the case and calling the plaintiff’s position ridiculous, which of course begs the question of why he didn’t just argue that point with the appellate court in the first place instead of dodging it. My guess it is because he’s an entitled jackass.

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