The U.S. Supreme Court sealed a legal victory for President Barack Obama’s campaign in the pivotal state of Ohio, leaving intact a ruling that restored early voting rights for the weekend before the Nov. 6 election.The decision marks another defeat for Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has sought over the past year to cut back on early voting hours, particularly in areas in which early voting favors Democrats. The early voting hours had been added after long lines had led to many people choosing to step out of the queue in 2004 and not cast a ballot at all. But the GOP-dominated legislature and Republican Husted had decided to do what they could to reduce those hours after they led to a larger turnout in 2008 in those Democratic areas, helping Barack Obama and two Democratic congressional candidates who weren't expected to win seats to victory in Ohio.
Ohio Republicans had sought to cancel early voting that weekend for everyone except members of the military. A U.S. appeals court blocked the plan last week, saying it probably violated the constitutional rights of non-military voters. In a one-sentence order, the Supreme Court today rejected a challenge to that ruling, filed by Ohio’s Republican secretary of state and attorney general.
Ohioans will now be able to vote on the weekend and Monday before the Nov. 6 election.
11:36 AM PT: Obama for America General Counsel Bob Bauer said in reaction:
“We are pleased that the US Supreme Court declined to overturn federal court rulings that every Ohioan be allowed to vote during the weekend and Monday before the election. This action from the highest court in the land marks the end of the road in our fight to ensure open voting this year for all Ohioans, including military, veterans, and overseas voters. We now turn our full attention to educating Ohio voters on when and how they can vote along with presenting the clear choice they face when selecting their next President.”