Ohio Republicans take early voting appeal to Supreme Court
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted won't take no for an answer when it comes to blocking early voting rights in Ohio. On Tuesday, Husted announced that he would appeal last week's federal court decision and take his case to the Supreme Court.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Husted's earlier decision to close polls three days before Election Day to all Ohio voters except those in the military. The high court ruled that no particular group should have more voting rights than any other.
Husted called the decision forcing him to allow all voters equal access to early voting an "unprecedented intrusion by federal courts into how states run elections,” Fox News reported.
Husted also said, “This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense. The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open,” according to the New York Times.
Changes in early voting, along with new voter ID laws enacted in numerous Republican-controlled states, have been facing and losing court challenges in the days leading up to the 2012 elections.
Opponents to the new voting restrictions call the efforts a thinly veiled disguise for discrimination and suppression. By some estimates, new voting restrictions have the potential to disenfranchise up to 10 million citizens, depending on the severity of the new laws.
Early voting has traditionally favored Democrats. Many African-American church groups make arrangements to take their congregations to vote after Sunday services.
Others who take advantage of early voting are people who can't take a day off from work on Election Day, which always falls on the first Tuesday of November. Access to transportation to polling places is also a factor for some voters who may not otherwise be able to vote during Ohio's 13 hours of voting on Election Day.
"The election-year emergency appeal could prompt the high court to revisit its Bush vs. Gore ruling of 2000, which said voting standards must be equal across the state," according to the Los Angeles Times.
However, there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will agree to accept Husted's appeal.
If the Supreme Court refuses to take the case, the decision reverts to the federal court's decision and Husted will have to allow all early voters equal access to the polls.