Early voting began Tuesday morning in Ohio after the U.S. Supreme Court stepped into a dispute over the schedule, pushing the start date back a week in the swing state. Voters will pick the next governor along with other statewide officeholders on Nov. 4. Residents also will decide a number of legislative races and the outcome of more than 1,600 local issues. Ohioans can cast an absentee ballot by mail or in person. The start of early voting had shifted amid a lawsuit over two election-related measures.
Articles about voting issues in Ohio.
Attorney General Eric Holder criticized the Supreme Court Monday for leaving in place a law shortening the early voting period in Ohio, calling the decision “a major step backward.” The broadside from Mr. Holder, delivered in a video posted on the Justice Department website, comes at a key moment in the political and legal battles surrounding this year’s congressional elections. Under the new schedule, early voting in Ohio for Congress, governor, and state legislators begins Tuesday. The Supreme Court could also soon decide whether voting laws in North Carolina and Wisconsin will go into effect for the election next month. The Justice Department is challenging those laws, as well as voting laws in Texas.
Election Day is so 2007. Welcome to the start of Election Month in Ohio. “Just sitting back and waiting for people to turn out on Election Day is a fool’s errand,” said Matt Borges, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. With the growing popularity of casting ballots ahead of time, the fate of statewide elections, county races and local issues will be decided beginning Tuesday at early-voting centers across the Buckeye State — four weeks before polls open on Election Day, Nov. 4. Borges said he expects 11 percent of this year’s turnout to come in the first week of early voting. “I think what it does is it just moves everything up,” said Lauren Hitt, spokeswoman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald.
e Supreme Court ordered a halt Monday to early voting in Ohio that was scheduled to begin this week, clearing the way for the state to close polls on the Sunday before election day, when African American turnout has been heaviest. The emergency order, approved 5 to 4, is a victory for Ohio Republicans and a setback for civil rights lawyers who had challenged a law that shortened the early-voting period by about a week. Several other election-year disputes could reach the high court before November. Wisconsin, Texas and North Carolina also face pending court challenges to Republican-sponsored voting restrictions that take effect this year. Ohio had adopted one of the nation’s most generous early-voting policies after what was widely considered to be an election day debacle in 2004, when voters waited hours in long lines to cast ballots and many cities did not have enough voting machines to accommodate the turnout.
The Supreme Court on Monday blocked an appeals court ruling that would have restored seven days of early voting in Ohio. The Supreme Court’s order was three sentences long and contained no reasoning. But it disclosed an ideological split, with the court’s four more liberal members noting that they would have denied the request for a stay of the lower court’s order extending early voting. Dale Ho, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the court’s action “will deprive many Ohioans of the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election as this case continues to make its way through the courts.” The ruling, which reflected a partisan breakdown in many court decisions nationwide on voting issues, saw the five Republican-appointed justices uphold the voting restrictions enacted by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature in February. The new limits removed the first week of Ohio’s 35-day early voting period, in the process eliminating the only week that permitted same-day registration, a feature most often used by minorities.
The nation’s highest court on Monday granted an emergency plea from state officials to block a lower court’s order expanding statewide early voting days and times. The last-minute decision means early voting will not start Tuesday, but instead will be delayed one week. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse or delay the district court order restoring Golden Week, a week-long window when people could both register to vote and cast a ballot in Ohio, forcing Husted to add more early voting hours to the statewide schedule and allowing county boards of election to set additional hours. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who oversees the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals where the case was appealed, referred the case to the full court, which voted 5-4 to grant the stay. The court issued its order without an opinion or explanation, noting the court’s liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Kagan would not have granted the stay. Justices Samuel Alito, John G. Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy voted to grant the stay.
Jon Husted, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, is going to the mat to impose cuts to early voting, and he’s asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on his behalf. His office is framing its fight for the cuts – which already been found to discriminate against blacks and Hispanics – as a matter of “protecting states’ rights.” Late Thursday, Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine filed documents asking the nation’s highest court for an emergency stay to reverse a ruling by a federal appeals court panel on Wednesday. The decision earlier in the week upheld an injunction blocking the cuts from taking effect during this fall’s elections. Earlier on Thursday, Husted and DeWine filed a separate appeal for a rehearing of the case by the full appeals court. The cuts are being challenged by a coalition of civil and voting rights groups led by the ACLU. A full trial on the cuts is scheduled for next year.
Ohio: State Supreme Court finds part of rule governing judicial candidates is unconstitutional | Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday narrowed the scope of a rule that limits what judicial candidates can say when they run for office after holding the rule was, in part, unconstitutional. But at the same time, the court let stand a reprimand and penalty against an Ohio 11th District Court of Appeals judge for making a false statement. The court found that a badge Judge Colleen M. O’Toole wore during her campaign in 2012 was false. O’Toole had appealed her penalty to the Supreme Court, arguing it was excessive. The rule prohibits a judicial candidate from conveying two forms of communication: false information about themselves or their opponents and true information that would deceive or mislead a reasonable person.
Ohio: After losing early voting appeal; Secretary of State Jon Husted plans to petition full appeals court | Cleveland Plain Dealer
A federal appeals court on Wednesday affirmed a district court decision restoring early voting cuts and expanding early voting hours. The ruling from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is a setback for Secretary of State Jon Husted, who had appealed a lower court’s order that he expand early voting hours and move the first day of early voting from Oct. 7 to Sept. 30. The three-judge panel previously rejected a request to delay the court order pending Husted’s appeal. Husted then expanded statewide early, in-person voting hours while the case proceeded. Husted, in a statement released late Wednesday afternoon, said he will ask the full appeals court to overturn the panel’s ruling. ”This case is about Ohioans’ right to vote for the public officials that make the rules and laws we live under, and yet, this ruling eliminates elected officials’ ability to do what we elected them to do,” Husted said. “That’s wrong and I must appeal this case.”
State officials went to the Supreme Court tonight in an attempt to halt expanded early voting now scheduled to begin Tuesday. ”This is another step in protecting state’s rights,” said Matt McCllelan, spokesman for Secretary of State Jon Husted. The filing by the office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine comes on the heels of a request to the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier today to overturn yesterday’s unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the 6th circuit upholding increased early voting. State officials contend that the panel’s ruling is “irreconcilable” with U.S. Supreme Court rulings and thus should be reversed. The request for an emergency delay of the ruling went to Supreme Court Justice Elana Kagan, who has jurisdiction over cases from the 6th circuit. The state is making two appeals at once to give the high court more time to consider the case, today’s filing said. The Supreme Court should step in “because similar suits are percolating throughout the country with conflicting outcomes.”