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Politics


Obama sues Ohio Secretary of State
Leaders of Obama's reelection campaign want Ohioans to be allowed to vote during the three days before Election Day.
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JO INGLES


Reporter
Jo Ingles
 

President Obama’s campaign is suing Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to try to re-instate the three days of early, in person voting before Election day in November. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports.

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Back in 2004, Ohio’s voting process was under national scrutiny after there were long lines at polling places, causing voters to wait for up to eight hours to cast their ballots at some precincts.  After that, Ohio lawmakers passed a law that, among other things, allowed Ohioans to vote in person on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the election.  Those rules were in effect in 2008.  But Ohio lawmakers, during the past couple of years, have passed new laws eliminating that 3 day window. 

Democrats argue new law creates two classes of voters

There was an attempt to allow Ohioans to vote in a referendum to repeal that law.  But Ohio lawmakers took matters in their own hands and repealed the controversial bill, but didn’t repeal other new laws related to voting.  Backers of a new lawsuit say the way Ohio laws are written now treats voters unfairly and unequally.  Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern says a new lawsuit, filed in federal court, seeks to remedy that.

“All Ohioans, all voters deserve so much more and better,” Redfern says. “Our country deserves so much more and better and that’s what this case is all about: insuring all voters, every voter, has the same access to the polls.”

The new federal lawsuit, filed by President Obama’s campaign, the Ohio Democratic party and the Democratic National Committee contends the laws that are currently on the books in Ohio treat military voters and their families differently than ordinary Ohioans.  Don McTigue, an attorney working on behalf of the Democratic groups, explains treating the two groups differently violates federal election laws.

“The general assembly has established a deadline for one group of voters that allows them to vote three extra days in person at the board of elections,” McTigue says. “All other voters, the general assembly has cut off on the Friday before.  Whether or not this was done deliberately or whether it was a happenstance result of a tortured legislative history from all of these bills, it does not make a difference from a legal or constitutional standpoint.  You have two groups of voters that do not have the same rights to vote and should.” 

Husted and GOP claim Democrats are blowing steam

The new lawsuit seeks to bring back that three-day, in-person early voting period at the board of elections for every Ohio voter.  Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says it’s important to remember that Ohio voters haven’t had those three days recently anyway.

“This is the third election that we’ve had under these rules so there’s nothing new happening here in Ohio,” Husted says.

As far as the inequity between ordinary Ohioans and military families, Husted says federal law is responsible for that.

“That was not established in Ohio law,” Husted says. “It was actually established in federal law that gives military families various advantages in extending access and ease in the way they cast ballots.  For example, they get to start 45 days in advance rather than 35 days in advance, they get to receive their ballots electronically rather than traditional mail so there are a number of these exemptions that are given to military and overseas voters that the normal voter does not enjoy or have access to, not just the final three days in which these issues are in question.”

One of the Republican lawmakers who pushed to wipe out the three day window before election day, Lou Blessing, says no voter is being disenfranchised under the current law.

“But as far as preventing people from voting: my comment is you’ve got to be kidding. They can vote absentee, they can vote in person. I mean You’ve got 30 days before the election.  I’m not quite sure how that prevents anybody from voting.”

In 2008, 93,000 votes were cast in the three days before Election Day.

Listener Comments:

Right wing media is portraying this suit as 'anti military when it is NOT. It is simply focusing on the fact that Ohio voters are being restricted to fewer days to vote than members of the military.
:
"Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee have filed a lawsuit to block a new state law allowing men and women in uniform to vote up until the Monday right before an election, while the cutoff on early voting for the rest of the public is three days earlier."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/04/obama-campaign-sues-ohio-over-early-voting-law-for-military/#ixzz22bMCuHc7

President Obama is NOT anti-military rights; he is PRO equal rights for all citizens!!!!


Posted by: Linda Smith (Munroe Falls) on August 4, 2012 2:08AM
we just got to get probably republican out of office we r sick of the rich taking rights away from the poor and middleclass
and i know - the poor gets taken advantage of unless u r one n twelve million to get on tv to tell ur story- there were long lines in 2008 n ohio to - not only that we r the smallest state of Most and yet we r always the last to put r results when it comes to voting-we r sick and tired of the sticking guts of the uncompromising lack of common sense- and cruel inhumane about to fail roman downfall republican garbage.




Posted by: denise (ohio) on July 18, 2012 9:07AM
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