The Republican-dominated Ohio legislature eliminated early voting in Ohio's elections this year, a restriction that disproportionately effects minority and low-income voters. Those populations use early voting
to counteract the long lines
they traditionally face on election day in the traditionally under-equipped and understaffed polling places in the neighborhoods.
The new restriction, however, does not apply to military voters, and because of that, the Obama campaign and the DNC are suing.
The campaign claims changes made by the legislature created inequality among military voters who can cast early ballots through the day before the election and all other voters who only have until 6 p.m. on the Friday before the election to vote in-person absentee. This, the campaign contends, is a violation of the equal protection provision of the U.S. Constitution.
“The last three days of early vote are especially important to ensuring a free and fair election,” Obama for America-Ohio Senior Advisor Aaron Pickrell, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a joint statement provided to the Beacon Journal today. “That is why today we are moving forward in the fight to reinstate the last three days of early voting and ensure that all Ohio voters can make their voices heard this November.”
The early voting restrictions are a holdover from the full package of new voter suppression laws the Ohio legislature passed. Voting rights advocates gained enough signatures to put the new law up for a referendum in November, effectively blocking the implementation of the laws. So, getting tricky, Ohio Republicans tried to repeal
their new laws, before the people of Ohio had a chance to kill them. However, they snuck the early voting provision into a separate piece of legislation that has passed. This all leaves the voting procedures for November very much in the air, confusion that Republicans undoubtedly are counting on to suppress Democratic turnout.
In other words, a typical electoral clusterfuck in Ohio. This suit should also put a halt to implementation of the early voting restrictions.