For the last four years, Republican lawmakers around the country have diligently tried to eliminate early-voting periods, which give people a chance to vote at their convenience. The reason is simple: early voting was wildly popular in 2008 – comprising a third of the vote – and many of the people who took advantage of it voted for Barack Obama. More than half of Florida’s early voters in 2008 were Democrats, and many black voters went right from their church pews to the ballot box on the Sunday before Election Day. That’s why the state’s Republicans severely restricted the practice last year, and specifically banned voting on that final Sunday. Similar restrictions were also passed in Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Ohio, part of a movement to restrict voting that includes tough voter ID requirements. Now, the Obama campaign’s attempt to fight the measure in Ohio has led to one of the lower moments of this year’s presidential campaign. The state legislature cut back on the early voting period, and banned it in the three days prior to Election Day. (Even though 93,000 Ohioans voted in those three days in 2008.) An exception, however, was made for military personnel, who tend to lean Republican.
The Obama campaign and the Ohio Democratic Party filed a lawsuit last month in federal court, saying the practice violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The lawsuit asked the court to restore to everyone the right to vote in the last three days. Then, in an extraordinary lie, Mr. Romney issued a statement Saturday turning the lawsuit around to accuse Democrats of trying to end early voting for the military. “President Obama’s lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period is an outrage,” he said. He went on to say that the “brave men and women of our military” make tremendous sacrifices for the country, and that everything should be done “to protect their fundamental right to vote.”
Full Article: Ohio Early Voting Lawsuit – NYTimes.com.