It’s the election season, and the battle for the presidency and control of Congress is being fought not just through voter registration drives, endless campaign ads, and stadium rallies, but also in courts across America. Litigation over election rules has become increasingly commonplace since the disputed 2000 election in Florida, which led to the United States Supreme Court choosing George W. Bush over Al Gore. And as in 2000, the question of military voters and military ballots is back in the media and legal spotlight, with Republicans unfairly accusing Democrats of being anti-military. A federal district court in Ohio will soon decide the Obama campaign’s challenge to an unusual Ohio law. The law allows military voters and overseas voters, but no other voters, the right to cast an in-person ballot in the three days before Election Day. Democrats argue that this law is unconstitutional because it “requires election officials to turn most Ohio voters, including veterans, firefighters, police officers, nurses, small business owners and countless other citizens, away from open voting locations, while admitting military and nonmilitary overseas voters and their families who are physically present in Ohio and able to vote in person.”
Back in 2008, all Ohioans had the right to vote in the early voting period just before the election, and the early voting period on the Sunday before Election Day was especially important, as Democrats organized African-American church groups and others to go vote after services. Republican legislators voted to eliminate the early voting period in a larger bill seen as making voting changes to help Republicans. Then things got complicated: Democrats sought to challenge the law through a voter referendum, Republicans repealed the broader law to avoid the voter referendum and then passed a new law to once again eliminate early voting in the period just before the election through a series of technical votes. Democrats claim that the legislature intended to eliminate the three-day early voting period for all voters, but mistakenly preserved it only for military voters. The Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, will not allow local election officials to open up early voting during this three-day period to any other voters.
Full Article: Military voters as political pawns | UTSanDiego.com.