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Will SCOTUS Hear Ohio Early Voting Case Before November?

By Robyn Hagan Cain on October 09, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Can you even remember a time when the real action in an election occurred at the polls instead of in the courts? It's a foreign concept now, but we vaguely recall when that was the norm.

Over the last year, we've seen candidates suing to be placed on a party primary ballot, states suing over redistricting maps, and parties suing to be recognized by states.

Lately, Ohio's early voting measure has been basking in the legal limelight with a federal challenge. This year, the Republican-controlled state legislature eliminated early voting during the pre-election weekend, except for military members and Americans overseas. On Friday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Ohioans may cast early in-person absentee ballots during the final three days before the Nov. 6 election, reports

Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee, and the Ohio Democratic Party sued Ohio state officials over the summer, alleging that the early voting restriction was unconstitutional because it limited voting opportunities for non-military voters. In August, U.S. District Judge Peter Economus enjoined the measure, ruling that all Ohioans have a constitutionally-protected right to vote on equal terms, reports The Wall Street Journal.

While the Democrats won once again on appeal, Ohio Republicans have vowed to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court.

Ohio Secretary of State John Husted called the decision "an unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections" and claimed that the result would not be practical. Husted said:

The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio's 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning.

Since Ohio is a swing state in presidential elections, the Supreme Court could be compelled to expedite the case. Do you think the Court will step in to resolve this dispute, or would involvement evoke criticism reminiscent of Bush v. Gore?

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