It's been a busy week in the War on Voting here in Ohio. And just like in the old poster, Ohio wants YOU - to help ensure the elections are held in the most fair manner possible.
Follow me over the Orange Squiggle of Doom for a brief explanation, and how you can help.
To sum up what has gone before: Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) got busted for allowing Republican-leaning counties, but denying Democratic-leaning counties, to have early voting on the weekend immediately before the election. County Boards of Elections are comprised of two Democratic and two Republican members. If a board deadlocks, the Secretary of State is the tiebreaker, and Husted sided with the Republicans.
But allowing counties to establish differing opportunities to vote is a no-no, as we all learned in Gore v. Bush. To cure the disparity, Husted decided to block early voting the weekend of Nov. 4-5 in all Ohio counties, but extended weekday voting hours. He also allowed the extra days for voters on active duty in the military.
The Obama campaign sued to restore voting the weekend before the election, and eventually won. But not before Husted issued an order to all 88 counties to ignore the court's ruling and cancel early voting the weekend before the election. That prompted the Obama campaign to file a motion for enforcement of the ruling and US District Court Judge Peter Economus to require Husted to personally attend a hearing to explain himself. Husted reversed course the next day and rescinded his order, and the judge cancelled the hearing.
This week, Husted finally got around to filing a motion to stay the ruling pending appeal. Judge Economus was not moved, noting that "Plaintiffs submit statistical studies to support their assertion that low-income and minority voters are disproportionately affected by the elimination of these voting days... Therefore, the injury to the plaintiffs is significant and weighs heavily in their favor." One of the studies found that "early voters were more likely than election-day voters to be women, older, and of lower income and education attainment" and more likely to vote Democratic.
The case continues to the US Court of Appeals for the 6th District, with briefs due by September 21.
In the meantime, Democrats in Dayton could use some help. While the legal beagles were doing their thing, Husted fired two Democratic BoE members in Montgomery County (Dayton) for voting to keep the weekend hours. Now that Husted has backed off his order, he should reinstate them. Please sign this MoveOn petition demanding that he to reinstate Democratic Board of Elections members Thomas Ritchie, Sr. and Dennis Lieberman.
When I signed, the petition was only needed a few hundred signatures to reach its goal of 3,000. Let's send a big Daily Kos wave and push it over the top.