The battle over Ohio voting laws is raging with less than two months left before the elections. Attempts to prevent poor voters to participate has brought back memories of Jim Crow laws that kept ex-slaves from voting from the Civil War all the way up to the Civil Rights era. Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog has the latest news on the court cases that have an impact on Ohio voters including an interesting article called “The Other Important Ohio Voting Case–On Wrong Precinct Provisional Voting–Goes to Sixth Circuit.” Take a look at this excerpt:
Briefing Schedule Issued for SEUI v. Husted
Sep. 7 (3:16 PM) - According to the expedited briefing schedule, the Appellant’s brief is due on Sept. 14, the Appellee’s on Sept. 21, and the reply brief is due on Sept. 26 in the SEIU v. Husted case dealing with provisional ballots. The 6thCircuit will be busy with election cases this month.
State of Ohio and Husted Appeal Provisional Ballot Ruling
Sep. 7 (9:38 AM) - As expected, the state of Ohio and Secretary of State Jon Husted filed notices of appeal yesterday in the SEIU v. Husted provisional ballot case. The case now proceeds to the Sixth Circuit Court
Election Law Blog also has the latest information on the fight for early voting rights in Ohio:
Back on Sept. 4 I reported that Ohio SOS Husted issued a directive which seemed to contradict the district court order to restore early voting for all voters in Ohio. After the Obama campaign sought a direct order from the Court requiring Husted to set early voting hours and suggesting that Husted was already disobeying the court’s order, the court ordered Husted to personally appear at the next hearing on this issue.
Today, Husted rescinded the controversial directive. In a new filing in the district court, Husted apologized to the court, explained his directive and his decision to rescind it, and requested a stay of the district court’s order while the matter is on appeal to the Sixth Circuit. (TPM reports that the military groups which intervened in the district court are now appealing as well.)
Should the district court issue the stay? This is a tough call. On the one hand, it seems that Husted should be getting the ball in motion to have the counties set uniform early voting hours for those last three days in Ohio in the event this judge’s decision is upheld on appeal. On the other hand, there is something to the idea that setting hours and then rescinding them could cause confusion—especially if voters rely upon announced early voting that is later then taken away by the Sixth Circuit. (The chances of an eventual reversal from the Sixth Circuit appear fairly good to me—meaning these early voting hours will again disappear.) It seems some kind of order which allows for contingency plans to be put in place makes the most sense.