Judge restores early voting in Ohio


In a win for voting rights, a judge has restored the final three days of early voting in Ohio, after Republicans had tried to scrap them.

President Obama’s campaign had sued to overturn a state law, signed by Republican governor John Kasich, that eliminated the last three days of early voting for most Ohioans. Friday, U.S. District Judge Peter Economus granted the Obama campaign’s request.

As Rachel Maddow explained recently, excessive wait times at polling places in 2004, especially in urban, Democratic-leaning neighborhoods, led Congress to urge Ohio to fix its voting system. In response, the state instituted reforms that led to a relatively smooth election in 2008, when Obama won the state. Then, after Republicans took control of state government in 2011, they passed a law eliminating the last three days of early voting hours for all but military personnel and those living overseas.

In 2008, nearly 100,000 people used those last three days to vote, Democrats have estimated. Many African-Americans, in particular, customarily vote on the Sunday before the election, after attending church.

Earlier this month, Mitt Romney’s campaign falsely accused Obama of seeking to “undermine” military voting rights with the lawsuit. In reality, the Obama camapign was asking that the final three days of voting be restored for everyone, so service-members voting rights would be unaffected.