A federal judge Thursday ruled that cuts to early voting in Ohio must be restored in time for the November election. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a state law and directives that have dramatically slashed early voting opportunities in Ohio. The ACLU was in court last month to ask the judge to restore the cuts prior to full trial, in time for the midterm election.
"This ruling will safeguard the vote for thousands of Ohioans during the midterm election," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "If these cuts had been allowed to remain in place, many voters would have lost a critical opportunity to participate in our democratic process this November. This is a huge victory for Ohio voters and for all those who believe in protecting the integrity of our elections."
Today's ruling restores the first week of early voting, often referred to as "Golden Week," in which voters are able to register and cast a ballot on the same day. It also restores evening early voting, as well as multiple Sundays.
The ACLU and the ACLU of Ohio filed the legal challenge to the restrictive voter law and directives in May on behalf of the Ohio Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and several African-American churches. On August 11, the ACLU argued its motion for preliminary injunction asking the court to stop the cutbacks before the November election.
"Early voting opportunities are vital to Ohioans who have inflexible work schedules, childcare duties or other responsibilities that make it impossible to get to the Board of Elections during regular business hours. This ruling means voters will not see their access to the ballot compromised during the upcoming election. This is great news, and we look forward to the full trial and when these measures are fully struck down once and for all," said ACLU of Ohio Managing Attorney Freda Levenson.