COLUMBUS — A federal court today reinstated early voting on the three days immediately preceding the election, striking down a state law that reduced voting hours.
The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus was an extension of the lawsuit filed by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and Democrats in 2012. The judge issued an order prohibiting Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted from enforcing a law that closed the doors to in-person early voting at 6 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day.
The court had determined that the law had unconstitutionally treated military voters, who could vote on these days, differently from all other voters.
The judge left it to Mr. Husted, however, to set uniform statewide hours for voting on those days.
The court granted a preliminary injunction restoring the early voting days for the 2012 election. This decision makes that permanent for subsequent elections. The judge noted that legislation since passed by the General Assembly did not restore those days.
“The loss of the three final days of early for non(military) voters goes to the heart of (the amended state law’s) constitutional deficiencies as determined by the court in 2012 and today,,” Judge Economus wrote. “…the Ohio Revised Code still contains differing and inconsistent in-person early voting deadlines for (military and other) voters.”
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