A Columbus-based federal judge has dismissed an early-voting lawsuit left over from the 2012 presidential election, saying the matter is now moot. U.S. District Court Judge George C. Smith affirmed Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted’s decision not to place a referendum on the November 2012 ballot that challenged a law prohibiting in-person voting on the weekend before the election.
The law, House Bill 194 enacted in 2011 by the GOP-controlled legislature, banned in-person absentee voting after 6 p.m. on the Friday before an election. Fair Elections Ohio, a coalition of Democratic groups, gathered enough signatures to challenge the law on the November ballot, arguing that it would restrict voter participation in the presidential election.
But in May of 2012, GOP lawmakers voted to repeal House Bill 194. Nevertheless, Fair Elections Ohio pressed forward, saying it alone had the authority to legally remove the referendum from the ballot. The group filed a lawsuit to force Husted to put the election law challenge on the ballot.