As in the past, Ohio is a key state in the electoral politics of the 2012 general election and the Republican Party is doing their level best to suppress voter turnout. On Friday, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Ohio must make early voting (pdf) during the three days before the election available to all voters if it’s available to military members and voters who live overseas. The ruling upheld a lower court decision. On Tuesday Ohio Secretary of State John Husted announced that he would appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court:
This is an unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections and because of its impact on all 50 states as to who and how elections will be run in America we are asking the Supreme Court to step in and allow Ohioans to run Ohio elections.
This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense. The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning.
Remember that Husted’s original ruling for early voting would have allowed Republican districts to keep their voting hours open longer and for more days. And he sought to keep options for military voters open while closing them for, say, minorities in Cleveland. So his appeal to equal protection, in light of his previous decisions, is comical.
I doubt that the Supreme Court would choose to intervene here, though of course you never know. But that won’t stop Husted’s well-earned gold star as the hardest-working voter suppressor in America.
Who knows what this Supreme Court will do but here’s hoping that they let the lower court decision stand.