Remember that outrageous lie the Republicans told about the Obama campaign trying to deprive military personnel from voting in Ohio? The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the district court ruling that rejected that lie and restored early voting for all Ohio residents.
Plaintiffs introduced extensive evidence that a significant number of Ohio voters will in fact be precluded from voting without the additional three days of in-person early voting. The district court credited statistical studies that estimated approximately 100,000 Ohio voters would choose to vote during the three-day period before Election Day, and that these voters are disproportionately “women, older, and of lower income and education attainment.” The district court concluded that the burden on Plaintiffs was “particularly high” because their members, supporters, and constituents represent a large percentage of those who participated in early voting in past elections. The State did not dispute the evidence presented by Plaintiffs, nor did it offer any evidence to contradict the district court’s findings of fact. Plaintiffs did not need to show that they were legally prohibited from voting, but only that “burdened voters have few alternate means of access to the ballot.”
The State argues that the burden on non-military voters is slight because they have “ample” other means to cast their ballots, including by requesting and mailing an absentee ballot, voting in person prior to the final weekend before Election Day, or on Election Day itself. However, the district court concluded that because early voters have disproportionately lower incomes and less education than election day voters, and because all evening and weekend voting hours prior to the final weekend were eliminated by Directive 2012-35, “thousands of voters who would have voted during those three days will not be able to exercise their right to cast a vote in person.”
We should be thankful that most of the measures the Republicans have attempted to put in place to suppress the vote have been rejected by the courts around the country. Not all of them, but most of them at least.