Ohio cannot enforce a new state law for this election that reduced the number of days available for voters to cast absentee ballots by mail or in person, a federal judge ordered today. U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus granted a preliminary injunction sought by the NAACP, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and a group of African American ministers that effectively restores the full 35 days of early voting prior to the Nov. 4 general election. He found that the law is likely unconstitutional even though the state argued that its absentee voting options are more liberal than most states in the nation. His order requires Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, to add more evening voting hours and an additional Sunday to the hours he previously had set through a directive.
“Despite the fact that individual voters may simply choose to vote at other times during the current early-voting period, the socio-economic and other factors identified by the plaintiffs coupled with the reductions to (early in-person) voting caused by (the law and an associated directive) result in fewer voting opportunities for African Americans than other groups of voters, as it will be more difficult for African Americans to vote during the days and hours currently scheduled than for members of other groups.”
The judge ordered Mr. Husted to require all county boards of election to adhere to a uniform schedule of early voting that would take place beginning on Sept. 30 that would include additional evening hours between Monday, Oct. 20 and Friday, Oct. 24 and between Monday, Oct. 27 and Friday, Oct. 31.
It also provides for voting on Sunday, Oct. 26, in addition to the Sunday voting already provided on Nov. 2 under Mr. Husted’s current directive.
Full Article: Judge blocks Ohio from limiting early voting – Toledo Blade.