Voting Rights

Results to NAACP v. Husted

05.18.15

Early voting is essential to full participation in the electoral and political process. Without it, many working people are unable to find time to get to the polls.  In particular, African American voters would suffer because they are far more likely to use early in-person voting, mostly due to popular “Souls to the Polls” programs operated by black churches. Protecting the right of early voting has remained a priority for decades. In recent years, the ACLU of Ohio has litigated many voting rights cases, yet NAACP v. Husted [remains?] the most historic.

The ACLU and ACLU of Ohio filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to strike down a new state law and a directive from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted that slash early voting opportunities in Ohio. It seeks to strike down Ohio Senate Bill 238, a 2014 law that eliminates the first week of early voting in Ohio. The suit is also challenging a 2014 Husted directive that further slashes the early voting period by eliminating all Sundays, the Monday before Election Day, and all evening voting hours.

The ACLU brought the complaint on behalf of the Ohio Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and several African-American churches.

The complaint, NAACP v. Husted, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division. For a timeline and results of this historic case, visit our case landing page.

Read the press release and view the settlement.

Read the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

What’s early voting look like now? 

On September 4, 2014, Judge Economus granted the ACLU’s motion for preliminary injunction, preventing the cuts to evening and weekend voting and elimination of Golden Week from going into effect for the November 2014 election. Judge Economus’ ruling restored Golden Week, added a second Sunday of early in-person voting, and directed Secretary Husted to set evening voting hours during the last two weeks of the early voting period. The State has appealed the decision, and that appeal is pending before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On September 24, 2014 a three-judge panel from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Federal District Judge Economus’ September 4 order restoring early voting opportunities in the ACLU and ACLU of Ohio’s voting rights case NAACP v. Husted. The same day, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted challenged the Sixth Circuit panel decision by requesting that the case be reviewed by the full court.

On the next day, September 25, 2014, the ACLU and ACLU of Ohio filed a response with the appeals court to deny the request. At the same time, the state filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the ruling from going into effect.

On September 29, 2014, Ohio’s early voting period has changed. Read our press release: ACLU Comment on Supreme Court Action on Ohio Early Voting.