The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to restore a period of early voting in Ohio during which people could register and vote on the same day. The court’s brief order came in response to an emergency application from Democratic groups. There were no noted dissents. The case, Ohio Democratic Party v. Husted, No. 16A223, has its roots in the 2004 general election, when Ohio voters faced exceptionally long lines, leaving them, in the words of one court, “effectively disenfranchised.” In response, the state adopted a measure allowing in-person early voting in the 35 days before Election Day. As registration in the state closes 30 days before Election Day, the measure introduced a brief period, known as the Golden Week, in which voters could register and vote at the same time.
That proved popular, particularly with minority voters. In 2014, the state eliminated the Golden Week, with officials saying the change would help combat voter fraud and save money.
State officials said that it remains easier to vote in Ohio than in many other states. “By starting its voting schedule on the day after registration’s close (some 30 days before an election), the State offers the tenth-longest schedule in the nation,” the state’s Supreme Court brief said.