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.Full Article: Supreme Court Won’t Restore ‘Golden Week’ Voting in Ohio - The New York Times.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided not to reinstate Ohio’s “Golden Week,” a period in which Ohio residents could register to vote and cast their ballots on the same day. It’s just the latest in a string of contentious voting rights issues in the Buckeye State. The Golden Week came into effect after the 2004 presidential election, when excessively long lines on Election Day disenfranchised Ohio voters. As Mother Jones explained in 2005:
It turns out the Franklin County Board of Elections had reduced the number of voting machines in urban precincts — which held more African American voters and were likely to favor John Kerry — and increased the number of machines in white suburban precincts, which tended to favor the president. As a result, as many as 15,000 voters in Franklin County left without casting ballots, the Washington Post estimated.
In response, the state instituted, among other reforms, a 35-day early voting period. Since the last day to register to vote in Ohio came 30 days before the elections, voters had a five-day window where they could simultaneously register and vote before the general registration deadline.Full Article: What the End of Ohio’s Golden Week Means for Minority Voters.
In a pair of court decisions that could help Donald Trump, Ohioans’ voting rights were pared back Tuesday for the 2016 presidential election. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review an appeals court panel’s 2-1 ruling throwing out Golden Week, the period in which Ohioans could both register to vote and cast an early ballot. Several hours later a separate but equally divided panel of that same Cincinnati-based appellate court largely upheld restrictions enacted by the GOP-dominated legislature in 2014 and signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich. All that reshaped the Ohio electoral landscape to one less favorable to minority and Democratic voters — and thus presumably more to Trump’s liking.Full Article: Courts uphold trimming of Ohioans' voting rights | The Columbus Dispatch.
One of the most critical battleground states in the presidential election is home to three disputes over voting issues that could affect when voters can start casting ballots and how ballots will get counted this fall. Groups have challenged Ohio’s cut to early voting, its ballot procedures, and its process for removing voters from its registration rolls. Here’s a look at the lawsuits in Ohio: A dispute over a law that trims a week of early voting is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The state’s Democratic Party asked the court on Sept. 1. to suspend a ruling that would trim early voting opportunities. That lower court decision from last month upheld a law eliminating days in which people could register and vote at the same time, a period known as “golden week.”Full Article: AP Explains: Ohio is home to 3 disputes over voting issues - Houston Chronicle.
Here’s the bottom line to the seeming never-ending fuss over Ohio’s voting laws: Democrats like looser voting restrictions because that generally means more Democratic votes. Republicans are just the opposite. That’s not to say each side doesn’t have honest concerns about issues ranging from voter fraud to access to the ballot box. But the shape of partisan battle lines over proposed changes to voting laws is one of the easiest to predict, both in Ohio and nationwide. What that means for voters is an ever-shifting set of rules as lawmakers enact changes followed by inevitable legal challenges, resulting in months of uncertainty that sometimes is not resolved until shortly before the election. For example: The GOP-run legislature and Republican Gov. John Kasich passed legislation to ban the so-called Golden Week, a period of five days before Election Day during which Ohioans could register to vote and cast an early ballot at the same time. A lower federal court threw out the change. An appeals court panel restored it. Now that decision has been appealed.Full Article: Ohioans still waiting to learn voting rules this year | The Columbus Dispatch.
Ohio: Democrats to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate Golden Week in voting suit | Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Ohio Democratic Party will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate Golden Week voting for the November presidential election. The request will be part of an appeal to the Supreme Court in a lawsuit challenging the state’s attempt to shorten the early voting period to eliminate the week. Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, in a phone interview Wednesday, said the appeal will be filed quickly, perhaps in a matter of days. “There’s just no reason not to allow the same process that’s been place for the last two cycles,” Pepper said. “The least harmful path is to give a stay and leave in place what was involved (for presidential elections) in ’08 and ’12.” The Ohio Democratic Party and Montgomery and Cuyahoga County Democratic parties are challenging changes in state law that reduced the early voting period from 35 days to 28 days. The reduction eliminated Golden Week, the only time people could register to vote at their elections board and then vote early in-person the same day.Full Article: Ohio Democrats to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate Golden Week in voting suit | cleveland.com.
Golden Week is gone again in Ohio. For the time being, at least. The controversial period in which Ohioans can both register to vote and cast an early ballot was struck down Tuesday by a federal appellate pane, overturning a lower-court ruling re-establishing Golden Week. “Proper deference to state legislative authority requires that Ohio’s election process be allowed to proceed unhindered by the federal courts,” said a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that split 2-1. Thus continues the ritual witnessed every presidential election year in bellwether Ohio: Bitter court battles over voting. Now Ohio Democrats who brought the lawsuit must decide whether to ask the full appeals court to consider Tuesday’s decision. That’s the most likely route to reversing the ruling, said nationally known elections expert Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California at Irvine.Full Article: No more 'Golden Week' for Ohio voters - again | The Columbus Dispatch.
Editorials: Early-voting ruling eliminating Ohio’s ‘Golden Week’ is plain wrong | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Tuesday’s 2-1 ruling by a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, to uphold Ohio’s abolition of a “Golden Week” for voting, was ideological, narrow – and wrong. A federal appellate panel on Tuesday reversed a lower court’s decision and reinstated an Ohio law that shortened early voting in the state and eliminated the so-called “Golden Week” that allowed people to register and vote early at the same time. The decision, if it stands, lets Ohio cut what had been a 35-day early-voting period to 29 days. And reducing it to 29 days eliminates what had been a six-day Golden Week period during which Ohioans could both register to vote, then immediately vote early, in person or by returning an absentee ballot to their county’s Board of Elections. The Ohio Democratic Party has said it will appeal the ruling, and well it should.Full Article: Early-voting ruling eliminating Ohio's 'Golden Week' is plain wrong: editorial | cleveland.com.
Betsy Heer spent her birthday in November 2004 standing in a cold rain, waiting 10½ hours to vote. She’s runs a bed-and-breakfast in the tiny town of Gambier, Ohio. Many of the 1,300 people who joined her in line were students at Kenyon College. “So yeah, it was exhausting and it was exciting and it was frustrating and it was all those things. But it definitely was democracy in action.” And in nearly every election since, Heer has opted instead to vote early. The reason she can is an overhaul of Ohio’s early voting laws spurred by what one judge called the “disastrous” 2004 election. The changes helped make election days smooth. But they’ve also created cycle of laws and lawsuits that make courts in Ohio a big player in the national debate over voter access. “They know how to ski in Colorado, we know how to litigate elections in Ohio,” laughs Ned Foley, director of Ohio State University’s election-law program. He notes that the fights in Ohio include one that’s been dragging on for a decade. There are battles over rejected ballots and efforts to eliminate “Souls to the Polls” Sunday. Over purging voter rolls and eliminating same-day registration-and-voting.Full Article: When It Comes to Voting-Rights Disputes, Ohio is No. 1. Why? | WKSU.
With the vocal support of GOP legislative leaders Wednesday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted appealed the latest of two voting rights rulings against the state, blaming them for creating “ chaos and voter confusion.” “Unfortunately, in the time span of just two weeks, the integrity of our elections has been jeopardized as two federal judges have issued decisions that directly conflict with each other and put our elections process in limbo with no clear path forward absent a clear ruling from the appellate court,” Husted said. Democrats who won both court cases say if the Republicans want someone to blame for “chaos” in Ohio’s voting laws, they should look in the mirror. “Their handiwork continues to violate the Constitution — that’s where the chaos and confusion comes from,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “They’re just playing games at this point.”Full Article: Husted appeals 2nd ruling tossing Ohio voting laws | The Columbus Dispatch.
With Ohio set to once again be a pivotal swing state this fall, the state’s Republicans are looking to restrict access to the voting booth—extending a sprawling battle over voting in the Buckeye State that has raged for more than a decade. A recent court ruling foiled the GOP’s bid to end same-day voter registration—for now. But a controversial new Republican-backed bill would make it harder to keep polls open late if unforeseen problems arise, as they have in the past. Meanwhile, the state’s top election official is being sued over a controversial purge of the voter rolls. And even a measure to let voters register online that has won GOP support is nonetheless causing controversy. The stakes in Ohio could hardly be higher. The state is shaping up to reprise its status as a crucial battleground in the presidential election this November. It also hosts a tight U.S. Senate race between incumbent GOP Sen. Rob Portman and Democratic former Gov. Ted Strickland that could help determine control of the chamber.Full Article: In Ohio, battle rages over access to voting | MSNBC.
Ohio: State asks federal judge to delay reinstating ‘Golden Week’ allowing registration, voting | Cleveland Plain Dealer
Ohio has asked a federal judge in Columbus to hold off enforcing an order requiring the state to allow voting during Golden Week, when voters can both register to vote and cast an in-person absentee ballot. U.S. District Judge Michael Watson last week struck down a state law that eliminated Golden Week, ruling that the 2014 law violates both the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. That law shortened early voting from 35 days before an election to 28. Husted said then that the state would appeal the ruling.Full Article: Ohio asks federal judge to delay reinstating 'Golden Week' allowing registration, voting | cleveland.com.
A federal judge on Tuesday struck down a state law that eliminated “Golden Week,” several days when Ohio voters could both register to vote and cast a ballot. The 2014 law violates both the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson wrote in his opinion siding with Democrats who challenged the law. The state will appeal the ruling, a state attorney general spokesman said. If the ruling stands, Ohio voters will have 35 days to cast a ballot this November instead of 28 and will be able to register to vote and cast a ballot at the same time. In 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law on behalf of the Ohio chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and League of Women Voters and several African-American churches. A federal district court judge struck down the law, but the state was granted a stay. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Statehouse Republicans argued that Ohio provides 28 days of absentee voting by mail and in-person, making it one of the most expansive voting systems in the country.Full Article: Federal judge blocks Ohio law that eliminated 'Golden Week' voting | cleveland.com.
The state of Ohio filed a federal court appeal on Thursday seeking to restore a Republican-backed limit on early voting and accelerated voter-registration measures that were seen by civil rights groups as boosting minority turnout. U.S. District Judge Michael Watson in Columbus ruled on Tuesday that Ohio violated voters’ rights by reducing the period that ballots could be cast before an election to four weeks from five weeks. Watson’s decision also struck down Ohio’s elimination of a seven-day window during which residents could both register to vote and cast their ballots all in the same week – a period known as “Golden Week.”Full Article: Ohio appeals U.S. court decision in favor of early voting | Reuters.
It’s been a rough few week for voting-rights advocates, who have seen a judge reject a challenge to North Carolina’s strict voting law and seen Missouri legislators successfully place a ballot referendum that would amend the state constitution to require photo ID. But they got a win in Ohio today, where a judge in Columbus ruled that a recent law that eliminated a week in which citizens could both register and vote early was unconstitutional. Judge Michael Watson found that the change would disparately impact minority voters, and that the law violated both the 14th Amendment and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.Full Article: Judge Strikes Down Ohio Early-Voting Law - The Atlantic.
A legal dispute over changes to voting rules in swing state Ohio is now in the hands of a federal judge. At issue are a series of Republican-backed revisions that Democrats allege disproportionately burden black voters and those who lean Democratic. The state’s Democratic Party is among the plaintiffs suing the state’s Republican elections chief over the policy changes. Those include the elimination of a week of early voting in which Ohioans could also register to vote, known as the “golden week.” Both sides filed their closing comments with the court Tuesday. They now await a ruling from U.S. District Judge Michael Watson.Full Article: Dispute over Ohio's voting rules in hands of federal judge - Fairfield Citizen.
Attorneys representing Ohio Democrats in a legal dispute over changes to the swing state’s voting laws said Monday that a federal judge should strike down the adjustments because their burden on voters outweighs any benefit to the state. But lawyers for the state claim the voting changes were minor and argue that Ohio offers many opportunities for its residents to vote. At issue in the case are a series of Republican-backed changes that Democrats allege disproportionately burden minority voters and those who lean Democratic. Among the policy changes was elimination of a week of early voting in which Ohioans also could register to vote, known as “golden week.” U.S. District Judge Michael Watson heard opening statements in the trial that began Monday and is expected to stretch into next week. The case is being tried before Watson instead of a jury. The case also challenges rules related to absentee and provisional ballots, and limitations to in-person, early voting locations. Democrats want Watson to block the policies from being enforced.Full Article: Federal judge hearing dispute over Ohio’s voting rules - Break News - Ohio.
Voting rights advocates and Ohio’s top election official have settled a lawsuit over controversial cuts to the pivotal presidential state’s early voting period. The deal, announced Friday morning between Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, and the ACLU, undoes some but not all of the damage to voting access caused by last year’s cuts. It restores one day of Sunday voting and adds weekday evening hours, but lets stand the elimination of a week when Ohioans had been able to register and vote all in one day. It also ensures that all counties will have the same voting schedule — something Husted had named as a priority and that voting rights advocates too say will reduce confusion. Both sides called it a win.Full Article: Settlement reverses some cuts to Ohio early voting | MSNBC.
Supreme Court rulings forced last-minute changes in state voting procedures for the midterm elections across the country, but the battle over voting rules is far from over. Courts are still hearing arguments over voter ID and early voting laws, legal challenges that could reshuffle voting rules again before 2016, when a presidential election will probably increase voter turnout and long lines at polls. “The cases are not over,” says Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California-Irvine and author of the Election Law Blog. “In a number of states, restrictions, which have been on hold or which were scheduled to be phased in, will be in effect. More states will pass new restrictive voting rules. And some states may pass rules making it easier to vote.”
• In Ohio, legislation shortened early voting and eliminated “Golden Week,” a time period in which voters could register and early-vote on the same day. The Supreme Court upheld the changes for the midterm election, but the case challenging the law must go to trial in federal court.Full Article: Voting rights battles will continue in runup to 2016.
Early voting began Tuesday morning in Ohio after the U.S. Supreme Court stepped into a dispute over the schedule, pushing the start date back a week in the swing state. Voters will pick the next governor along with other statewide officeholders on Nov. 4. Residents also will decide a number of legislative races and the outcome of more than 1,600 local issues. Ohioans can cast an absentee ballot by mail or in person. The start of early voting had shifted amid a lawsuit over two election-related measures.Full Article: Early voting begins in Ohio following dispute | Local News - WLWT Home.