The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today sided with the Obama campaign and Ohio Democrats in reinstating in-person early voting on the final three days before Election Day. However, the court is not requiring that the polls be open on those days, but rather leaves the decision up to individual county elections boards. “The state has proposed no interest which would justify reducing the opportunity to vote by a considerable segment of the voting population,” the appellate judges said. “The public interest…favors permitting as many qualified voters to vote as possible,” Without the courts’ intervention, “all non-military Ohio voters would be irreparably injured.”
Republican lawmakers passed a law last year to cut off early voting on the Friday before Election Day, arguing that elections boards needed time to get their poll books updated. But Democrats sued, saying that because active military and overseas voters and their families could vote on those days, it was unconstitutional to cut those days off for everyone else. Democrats estimate that 93,000 people voted on those days in 2008. The appeals court upheld a prior federal district court ruling.