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Obama campaign asks judge to force early voting

Published: Thu, September 6, 2012 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Marc Kovac



President Barack Obama’s election campaign has asked a federal judge to force Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted to open polls on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day.

Obama for America wants U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus to order Husted to follow the court’s ruling last week to restore early in-person voting on the final three days before Nov. 6.

The move came a day after Husted issued a directive to county election boards barring them from opening on the first weekend in November while he and Attorney General Mike DeWine appeal Economus’ decision.

“Having sought no stay, either in this court or the court of appeals, the state appears to believe it can issue one on its own authority,” legal counsel for the campaign wrote in the filing Wednesday. “Nowhere in this directive does the secretary identify the legal basis for this extraordinary action.”

The filing is the latest in a series of near-daily legal maneuvers pitting Democrats against Husted for his decision to limit early voting to specified regular business hours on weekdays.

Husted and his supporters have said Ohioans have ample opportunities to cast ballots in person or through the mail in the weeks before November’s presidential election. They say voters in all Ohio counties are being treated the same, with uniform hours and unsolicited absentee ballot applications sent by Husted’s office to all eligible voters.

“We think it’s really easy to vote in this election,” said Matt McClellan, spokesman for Husted, noting that voters will have 750 hours to cast absentee ballots by mail and 230 hours to submit those ballots in person.

“There’s ample time for voters to cast a ballot.”

But the Obama campaign, Statehouse Democrats and other critics say Husted’s decisions will hurt low-income, elderly and minority voters, limiting their ability to cast ballots in person and potentially leading to long lines that could dissuade urban voters from participating.

Husted is facing a series of lawsuits on election-related issues, including one from the Obama campaign, which sued after changes in state law allowed men and women serving in the military to cast early ballots on the three days prior to Election Day but barred all other eligible voters from doing the same.

The campaign argued all eligible voters should be allowed the same early voting opportunities and sought to force Husted to open early polls on those three days.

Legal counsel for Husted and DeWine countered that it was fully proper and constitutional for the state to offer special accommodations to military voters.

Economus last week sided with the Obama campaign, however, and ordered Husted to restore the three days of early voting. DeWine filed an appeal of that decision on Tuesday, said his spokesman, Dan Tierney, with subsequent filings from both sides due over the course of the next three weeks.

No decision is expected before Sept. 21, the day the final state filing is due.

On Tuesday, Husted issued another directive to county election boards prohibiting them from opening on the days in question before a decision on the appeal is finalized.

Husted wrote that “there is no valid reason” to open early voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday prior to Nov. 6 while legal proceedings over the issue continue, though he did indicate there was ample time to reverse course if an appellate court upholds Economus’ decision.


1Just_me(18 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Husted is in contempt of court. He is also an idiot. Arrest him!

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2redneckwonder(13 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

They just want the extra 3 days to stack the vote.

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3bouyantkym(30 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

They just want to make sure EVERYONE has a fair chance to vote, Not everyone is a Ceo, and can leave work whenever they want , to go vote.they are thinking about all of us. not just the rich people, who can lose a day of work, what IDIOTS!

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4walter_sobchak(2727 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

How did we exist as a Republic for all those years with voting in person at your precinct polling location on just the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November and with absentee voting? However, it does appear that this law does violate the equal protection clause.

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5DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Everyone should get the chance to vote. Lengthening the hours can only help the electorate.

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6borylie(951 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Exactly what Dems want to do with early voting and absentee ballots:

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7redeye1(5673 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Once again this just ges to show you that the dumbocrats will do anything to pad voting . But it also should show people that they don't care about our constitution. The consitution states that the states are the ones who set voting laws ,not the federal gov't. So what they are doing is illegal. So I for one am glad that we have Husted in charge, doing the right thing. Its time we quit catering to everyone whims

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8doubled(210 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

“We think it’s really easy to vote in this election,” said Matt McClellan, spokesman for Husted.

Just not as easy as in 2008, when president Obama won Ohio.

And that's exactly the point, isn't it, Mr. Husted.

Tea Party Cowards.

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9Attis(1134 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The top election official in Ohio is prohibiting voters from voting at their BOE on Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the General Election on Tuesday, when everyone who has job has to work?! Such a voter suppression official should be immediately removed from that important office and charged with treason.

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10DSquared(1788 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Good news for the dems. Starting on the week before election, the jails will have early, early voting. Just in case you have a Parole date on election day, or your electronic ankle bracelet keeps you at home! What a country!

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