State officials went to the Supreme Court tonight in an attempt to halt expanded early voting now scheduled to begin Tuesday. “This is another step in protecting state’s rights,” said Matt McCllelan, spokesman for Secretary of State Jon Husted. The filing by the office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine comes on the heels of a request to the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier today to overturn yesterday’s unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the 6th circuit upholding increased early voting. State officials contend that the panel’s ruling is “irreconcilable” with U.S. Supreme Court rulings and thus should be reversed. The request for an emergency delay of the ruling went to Supreme Court Justice Elana Kagan, who has jurisdiction over cases from the 6th circuit. The state is making two appeals at once to give the high court more time to consider the case, today’s filing said. The Supreme Court should step in “because similar suits are percolating throughout the country with conflicting outcomes.”
Under yesterday’s ruling, Ohioans can start early, in-person voting on Tuesday, a week earlier than the date pushed by Husted and state lawmakers. The earlier start re-establishes controversial Golden Week, when Ohioans can register to vote and cast a ballot at the same time. The appeals court panel also upheld added hours on weekends and weeknights leading up to the Nov. 4 election.
The legislature and Husted unconstitutionally reduced the early voting period, which disproportionately affected black and poor voters, the appellate panel said in upholding a preliminary injunction issued by a U.S. District Court judge on Sept. 4.
DeWine’s office pointed out to the Supreme Court that Ohio already has among the nation’s most expansive early voting periods, and argued that the appellate panel wrongly interpreted the Constitution and federal Voting Rights Act to uphold the early voting expansion.