Voting Rights Press Release

10.10.12

Secretary Husted Should Give Up the Ghost on Early Voting Restrictions

With Less Than 30 Days Until the Election, SCOTUS Appeal Only Creates More Confusion

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CLEVELAND – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio blasted Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s decision to appeal a court ruling that restores early-voting in the weekend before the election.

“With less than a month left until Election Day, Ohioans are still unsure whether they will be able to vote in the weekend before November 6,” said Mike Brickner, director of communications and public policy. “Partisan manipulations, blame games, and turf wars have taken an easy, popular, proven method of voting and turned it into a political circus.”

Last week’s court ruling held that early voting in the three days prior to Election Day must be extended to all voters. Ohio legislators had eliminated these voting days for everyone except members of the military. The Obama campaign sued, arguing that it is unconstitutional to give these voting opportunities to some voters while excluding others. The court agreed.

“It’s clear that these voting opportunities have been extremely popular with all voters and have helped avoid the problems of past elections,” said Brickner. “The partisan motivations for revoking these opportunities have also been well documented, but the Secretary of State is charged with serving the voters, not other politicians. Appealing this decision only injects more uncertainty at a time when voters are already confused.”

The court decision mandates that any early voting hours be open to all voters, but leaves it to local boards of election to decide whether to allow voting in the weekend before the election or eliminate the days for all voters, military included.

“Voting is not simply a privilege, it is a fundamental right,” said Brickner. “The process should be as easy and accessible as possible — for everyone.”