In a one-sentence order, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an emergency appeal by Ohio Republicans on their decision to shut down early voting for the three days before the November elections. The court did not offer an explanation.
The court’s denial to hear the case means the lower court ruling, which said early voting had to be open to all Ohioans, stands. Ohio Republicans wanted only military personnel to be able to vote on those days, but the Ohio court ruled all Ohioans should be allowed to vote that Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day.
The high court’s action is a victory for the Obama campaign, Democrats and others who have argued that Ohio’s restrictions are discriminatory, particularly towards low-income, African American, Latino and young voters. The Ohio Circuit Court ruled that the Republicans’ rules did disenfranchise those groups.
Ohio along with other Republican-led states, including Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, have passed laws that considerably restrict access to the ballot box and voter registration, amounting to what many call voter suppression. These laws include requiring voters to have a state-issued photo ID, cutting the number of days and locations for early voting and draconian requirements for organizations involved in voter registration.
One Pennsylvania lawmaker boasted publicly that the state’s new voter ID law would help guarantee a win for Republican Mitt Romney.
Photo: Barack Obama wades into the crowd of supporters in Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 9. (OFA/Scout Tufankjian/CC)