On Friday, a federal judge sided with the Obama campaign and ruled the state of Ohio must restore three days of early voting before Election Day. U.S. District Judge Peter Economus ruled Ohio can’t give members of the military and citizens living abroad three more days than it gives other voters to submit absentee ballots.
“This court finds that plaintiffs have a constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election – and all elections – on an equal basis with all Ohio voters,” Economus said in ruling on a lawsuit brought by Obama for America.
“Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable injury if in-person early voting is not restored the last three days before election day, and there is no definitive evidence before the court that election boards will be tremendously burdened,” Economus, who was appointed in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, went on to say in the ruling.
“The Court’s decision is another step forward in guaranteeing Ohioans have fair and free access to early voting,” said Mike Brickner, director of communications and public policy ACLU of Ohio. “Secretary Husted should now ensure that Boards of Elections are open weekends throughout the early voting period in order to provide the greatest level of flexibility and accessibility to all voters.”
“Election officials are charged with serving voters, and I can think of no greater service than expanding early voting opportunities for every Ohioan,” said Brickner. “Providing expanded hours will give voters more options to decide when they wish to cast their ballot, help those voters with pressing schedules or other special needs, and will ease the influx of voters on Election Day.”