In a swing state like Ohio, who gets to vote and when is critical. This is evidenced by the recent controversy in the state about early voting restrictions. The disagreement has two main issues – special accommodations for members of the military, and the elimination of early voting three days before Election Day. These two issues are connected, as members of the military and civilians overseas would technically have been allowed to vote during the three day period United States-based Ohioans would be barred from early voting.
Proponents of the early voting restrictions claim that they are necessary in order to provide election officials time to update voting records and prevent voter fraud. Opponents argue that they are arbitrary and disproportionately affect low-income and minority voters. This issue caught national media attention when the Obama and Romney campaigns took oppositional positions on the matter. An Ohio District Court judge found the restrictions a violation of the equal protection clause. Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine quickly announced his decision to appeal the matter to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the lower court. The Supreme Court declined to block early voting. This issue has ended for now, though others press on. [Read more…] about The Battleground 2012: Who Gets to Vote When? Ohio Election Rules Have a Smaller Effect at the Local Level