Sorry to have to address this again, but the fact checkers are apparently busy yelling at Harry Reid, and Romney continues to lie, so here’s the Ohio blog, Plunderbund, with a run-down:
What happened to early voting in Ohio?
· In the 2008 presidential election, more than 93,000 Ohioans utilized early voting in the three days before the election.
· Earlier this year, Ohio’s GOP-controlled legislature passed an election reform law that cut off early voting three days before the election.
· More than 300,000 Ohioans signed a petition to secure a referendum on the November 6th ballot in order to repeal this law. Rather than face the referendum, the legislature, at the urging of Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, decided to repeal the law.
· However, “in an unusual turn of events,” Ohio Republicans managed to keep a technical provision of the bill that shortens the early voting process and eliminates the last three days of early voting for all citizens except military personnel and their families.
What does that mean for voters?
In addition to reducing Ohioans’ access to the polls, the legislature created inequality between military voters who can cast early ballots in person through the day before the election and all other voters who only have until 6 p.m. on the Friday before the election to vote in-person absentee.
Why is there a lawsuit?
These restrictions are a violation of the equal protection guarantees in the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit seeks to make sure that all Ohioans, including military members and their families, can exercise their right to vote early. “This lawsuit seeks to treat all Ohio citizens equally under the law,” said Obama for America attorney Bob Bauer. “We want to restore the right of all to vote before Election Day.”
The facts show that Romney’s claim about restricting military voting is a blatant distortion. The purpose of the lawsuit is to ensure that every Ohioan—including military voters—has the right to make their voices heard at the polls.
There’s one more twist on this lie, and that’s absentee ballots. Ohio has what is called “no fault” absentee. Active duty military (or any other Ohio resident) may vote absentee as they would in any other year. Obama’s lawsuit has absolutely nothing to do with active duty military voting absentee, despite what you may hear about Obama suing to refuse absentee ballots coming in from out of country. We are talking about is IN-PERSON voting in this three day period.
I don’t think you should overreact to this. The last three days of the early voting period are important, but if the new Republican ban on early voting in those last three days stands, we will work within this like we’ve worked within each and every barrier to voting conservatives have set up since 2002, and I’m sure they’ll come up with still more new rules prior to November.
In my opinion, Pennsylvania voters are in a much more precarious position, because they have one of the most restrictive voting laws in the country AND some of the most restrictive provisional ballot acceptance rules in the country AND they have restrictive absentee balloting AND there is mass confusion on the law, which is being administered by two different state agencies.
Pennsylvania is the perfect storm of voter suppression. New, wildly restrictive law with a completely useless provisional ballot process, political hacks and lobbyists hired to promote the law, mass confusion or complete ignorance on the law, confusion or ignorance that goes all the way up to the governor and the state official in charge of elections, and no mechanism to take pressure off the system with early voting.
For all I know the Breitbart/Romney lie on Ohio is an effort to draw attention away from what’s happening in Pennsylvania. Don’t let that happen. Pennsylvania is where our efforts and attention should be focused.