Texas Lobbying Firm News: Ohio State Officials in Ohio Asked Supreme Court to Close Early Voting the Weekend Before the Election
The following is a digest of an article originally published at the SCOTUSblog. The Texas Lobby Group is posting this summary on one of our ancillary websites as a public service for other Texas Lobbyists, politicians, government consultants, and others with interest in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has been requested by the state of Ohio to close down all early voting on the last weekend before election day, and leave it only open to overseas military voters. The Sixth Circuit Court recently made a ruling that this would be unconstitutional, as it would exclude some voters by denying them a perhaps crucial time frame to cast their votes. Sixth Circuit Court ruled against this, stating that this would make things difficult for voters who are less educated and have lower incomes.
Ohio’s officials have made the point that over 70% of the state’s population votes on election day, and that voters will still have an open window to vote early if they need to. Since this case has been unable to find settlement or compromise, it has been taken on by the Supreme Court as of last Tuesday. Cases that make it up to the highest court in the U.S. are often somewhat morally gray and difficult to settle. It will be interesting to see what decision the court makes.
“The dispute fits into a nationwide pattern in which state officials have moved to narrow voting opportunities, with Republicans arguing that those steps were needed to prevent fraud and to allow election officials to conduct elections in an orderly way, and with Democrats claiming that the efforts are designed to reduce voting by groups that are assumed to favor Democratic candidates. Ohioans have already started early voting, with crowds seeking to do so on the first days of this form of “absentee” balloting. Although conducted under absentee voting laws, the early voting at issue actually occurs in person.”
While Ohio waits for the Supreme Court’s ruling, they have requested to have the Sixth Circuit’s ruling held off until then. Ohio also makes the case that they provide 230 hours of in-person voting and 13 hours of in-person voting on election day. This doesn’t include the more than 750 hours of absentee voting via mail. They describe the elimination of one weekend of early voting as a “minor inconvenience” to voters, not something that would marginalize populations or exclude anyone.