Ohio’s Secretary of State, Jon Husted, refuses to reinstate early voting on the final weekend before Election Day because he believes a change in the schedule would “confuse voters.” Husted has appealed a recent court ruling and will not comply until the appellate court decides on the matter.
Husted, a Republican, wrote in a memo. “Announcing new hours before the court case reaches final resolution will only serve to confuse voters and conflict with the standard of uniformity. Therefore, there is no valid reason for my office or the county boards of elections to set hours for in-person absentee voting the last three days before the election at this time.”
Until recently, Ohio allowed voters to cast an early ballot by mail or in person without having to give a reason. Democrats estimated that in 2008, 93,000 people voted during that three day voting window.
A study by Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates found African-American accounted for 56 percent of all in-person early votes in Cuyahoga County and 26 percent overall. After the 2004 election, early voting was disallowed except for military voters.
Obama’s campaign and Democrats sued the state over the legality of the new law and requested for Husted to restore in-person voting to all voters in the final three days before the election.
Judge Peter C. Economus of the Southern District Court of Ohio granted an injunction in favor of Obama For America, the Democratic National Committee, and the Ohio Democratic Party.