VOTING RIGHTS: How much early voting do you need to not discriminate?
By Josh Kaib | WatchdogWire.com
Ohio is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve its court battle over early voting.
Attorneys for the state asked the court Thursday to delay early voting hours forced upon the state by a federal judge. The day prior, a federal appeal court upheld the initial order, made Sept. 4 by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus.
The ruling cited studies that say the reduction in early voting, passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature in February, disproportionately impacts minority and low-income voters.
The Legislature set 28 days of early voting, but Economus said 35 days of early voting was needed. Across the country, the median number of early voting days is 11.
In Thursday’s court filing, State Solicitor Eric Murphy insisted the voting schedule passed by the Legislature be allowed to continue, not what Economus ordered.
“Ohio respectfully asks that the federal courts permit it to implement the early-voting schedule its democratically elected representatives chose and for which its voters and elections officials have prepared for over six months,” Murphy wrote.
When Ohio reduced the amount of early voting, critics claimed it was an attempt to restrict minority and Democratic voter turnout. In the filing with the U.S. Supreme Court, the state noted that it remains a “national leader in making voting easy,” with more early voting opportunities than many other states.