President Barack Obama’s campaign organization asked a U.S. appeals court to uphold a lower-court ruling that equalized Ohio’s number of early voting days leading up to the Nov. 6 national election. U.S. District Judge Peter Economus ruled Aug. 31 that all Ohio citizens must be allowed to cast pre-Election Day ballots through Nov. 5, agreeing with the Obama campaign and state and national Democratic parties that Ohio’s plan to grant three more early or absent voting days to residents in the armed forces or living overseas was unconstitutional. Economus last week rejected a request by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to delay enforcement of his decree until the federal appeals court in Cincinnati and then, potentially, the U.S. Supreme Court reviews the case. The Obama campaign told the appeals court in a Sept. 17 brief that ending early balloting on Nov. 2 for all except overseas residents and military personnel imposes a significant burden on the right to vote.
“Making it more difficult for people to vote serves no public purpose,” Donald J. McTigue, a lawyer with Obama for America, wrote in the filing. Ohio controls 18 of the minimum 270 Electoral College votes that Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney will need to win the presidency. Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine have said military voters face “special burdens,” including quick deployment and travel restrictions, justifying the three additional days under the U.S. Constitution.