Supreme Court halts early voting in Ohio

Supreme Court halts early voting in Ohio
The Polls will open for early voting in Ohio on Oct. 7. (Source: Wikimedia Commons / Tom Arthur)
The Polls will open for early voting in Ohio on Oct. 7. (Source: Wikimedia Commons / Tom Arthur)

(WOIO) - The Supreme Court voted today to halt the expansion of early voting in Ohio, after a lower court expanded early voting by seven days.

Early voting, which was set to start Tuesday, Sept. 30, will now start on Oct. 7. It will give voters 28 days to cast their votes before the general election. The extended dates would have given them 35 days. That additional week is also known as the "Golden Week" where voters could register to vote and vote on the same day.

Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted have been asking the courts to keep the early voting the way it was, citing an already-planned schedule and that Ohio's voting laws should be in the hands of Ohioans.

They released the following statements:

From the Attorney General's office:

"The Ohio Attorney General's Office is pleased that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with our arguments that a last minute federal court change to Ohio's generous early voting schedule, adopted by both the Ohio General Assembly and Secretary of State, was improper. This was an important ruling for protecting all Ohioans' rights through their elected representatives to determine the state's voting schedule rather than have the federal courts determine that schedule for them."

From the Secretary of State:

"Today's ruling validates what I have long said, elections in Ohio should be run by the same rules in every county and Ohioans should have the right to make those rules through their elected representatives.

"We are gratified the United States Supreme Court has allowed Ohio's early voting law to stand.

"I plan to implement state law and the voting schedule established by Democrats and Republicans at the local level, meaning Ohioans will have 28 days of early voting, including two Saturdays and a Sunday."

"Ohioans can have confidence that it remains easy to vote and hard to cheat in our state."

Those against the ruling, including Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, say the decision should be in the hands of local boards of elections, and that the decision makes it more difficult for people to vote.

He released the following statement:

"I am extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to stop early voting in Ohio just 16 hours before it was set to begin. As my administration has said all along, local boards of election should reserve the ability to set early voting hours that are most appropriate and beneficial for the constituents in their jurisdictions. Today's decision undermines that fundamental principle and makes it even more difficult for thousands of middle class families across the State of Ohio to make their voices heard this November. It is extremely unfortunate that five justices have chosen today to impose a right-wing political agenda on the State of Ohio."

Senator Nina Turner, who is running against Husted for Secretary of State, will hold a press conference tomorrow morning to discuss the impact of the decision.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to halt the extended hours, and will most likely not revisit the case before the polls open for early voting on Oct. 7.

Early voting days and hours will be posted on the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website.

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