Federal Court Upholds Ohio Early Voting Ruling

Source: Gregory Wallace and Bill Mears / CNN

A federal appeals court on Friday sided with the Obama campaign and Democrats in their lawsuit against Ohio over a restriction the state had placed on early voting.

Judges Eric L. Clay and Joseph M. Hood ruled 2 to 1 for the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding a late August injunction preventing the state from restricting many voters from casting ballots on the final weekend before November’s election.

President Barack Obama’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Ohio Democratic Party filed suit in July over the restriction, which would have closed early in-person voting at the end of the day on the Friday before the election for all voters except those covered by a federal voting law. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act required the state to maintain early voting for members of the military, their family members, and U.S. citizens living outside of the U.S.

In late August, the federal District Court found the state law “likely” violated the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution, acknowledging an argument that “low-income and minority voters are disproportionately affected by elimination” of particular early voting days. The court found “there is no definitive evidence… that elections boards would be tremendously burdened” by returning poll access to the standard before recent changes to the state’s laws.

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