Democrat Nina Turner is seeking to make Jon Husted a one-term secretary of state in Ohio.
Federal District Judge Peter C. Economus ruled
Thursday that Ohio cannot eliminate or restrict early voting on the three days before all future elections. Plaintiffs in the case of Ohio State Conference of the NAACP v. Husted
included the NAACP, the League of Women Voters of Ohio and several African-American churches.
The ruling was another setback for Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted whose voter suppression actions have been ongoing since he stepped into office in 2011. Alan Johnson reports:
Democrats, who benefit from weekend voting because supporters tend to come to polls in greater numbers on those days, were overjoyed at the ruling. Republicans, meanwhile, were uniformly silent, with the exception of Husted, who issued a statement praising the decision as a victory for “uniformity and equality” in voting hours.
In a statement, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the decision “isn’t just a victory for the Democratic Party, it’s a victory for the democratic process.” She said 96,000 Ohioans cast ballots during the final three days of early voting four years ago.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit for the plaintiffs, also called the ruling a "huge victory for Ohio voters and for all those who believe in protecting the integrity of our elections."
While this is a sharp and welcome defeat for Husted, as long as this partisan hack is in charge, chances of future voter suppression efforts are more than merely likely. Which is why Daily Kos has endorsed Democrat Nina Turner in the upcoming Ohio Secretary of State race. You can help her win by chipping in $5 for her campaign.
There's more analysis below the fold.
Richard Hasen, a professor of law at the University of California's Irvine School of law who runs the Election Law Blog, noted:
This is a significant case, which could potentially make it to the Supreme Court. It expands voting rights in a broad way, and makes it difficult for a state like Ohio to cut back on any expansions of voting rights that it puts in place. The big question is where the stopping point is in a decision like this, and how to justify calling it unconstitutional for a state like Ohio to make a modest cutback in early voting while allowing many other states to offer no early voting at all. [...]
There is more discussion in ericlewis0's post here.
5. The judge concluded that the cutbacks in early voting constituted an equal protection violation under the Sixth Circuit’s cases describing equal protection standards in elections and a violation of section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Both of these holdings are legally controversial. It is possible that the Sixth Circuit (depending on the panel) could agree with these rulings, but that is not certain. if the Supreme Court considered these issues, I would expect a reversal, but it is not clear that the Supreme Court will choose to get involved in this case if Ohio tries to take it this far.