Court Rules for Longer Early Voting in Ohio

Saturday, 01 Sep 2012 10:09 AM

By Patrick Hobin

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Ohio — a key battleground state in the November presidential election — must allow in-person voting on the weekend before the presidential election, U.S. District Judge Peter Economus ruled on Friday, the Washington Post reported.

Ohio has allowed in-person voting the weekend before the election since 2005, and the judge said that the state offered no convincing argument for a new rule change.

The Obama campaign and Ohio Democrats said all voters should be allowed to vote on the weekend ahead of the election. Democrats claimed Republican efforts to close down early voting targeted likely voters for President Barack Obama.

Economus was appointed to the federal bench by Presiedent Bill Clinton.

Economus' ruling, according to the Post, said, “On balance, the right of Ohio voters to vote in person during the last three days prior to Election Day — a right previously conferred to all voters by the state — outweighs the state’s interest in setting the 6 p.m. Friday deadline. The burden on Ohio voters’ right to participate in the national and statewide election is great, as evidenced by the statistical analysis offered by plaintiffs and not disputed by defendants.”

Studies have shown that the elderly, the poor and minorities are more likely to take advantage of voting opportunities offered outside normal business hours.

Democrats said 93,000 people voted on the weekend before the 2008 election, the Post reported.

Ohio's 18 electoral votes are considered key to the outcome of the Nov. 6 presidential election. Obama won the state in 2008; George W. Bush carried Ohio in 2000 and 2004.

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