Early Voting Restored in Ohio

In another in a series of late judicial interventions in a very tight general election, a federal judge in Ohio has struck down restrictions on early voting during the last three days before November 6. More specifically, the judge rejected an approach that maintained in-person early voting in the final “window” for military and overseas voters but not for anyone else.

This was the second early-voting restriction gambit by Ohio Republicans that’s run foul of the courts. The first blatantly discriminated by keeping existing early voting hours in smaller, more rural counties (which tend to vote Republican) but not in Ohio’s major urban areas (where early voting in the final days is a very large phenomenon, especially for African-Americans). And the second maintained the military loophole, which enabled Republicans to claim that Democratic lawsuits seeking to force restoration of full early voting opportunities were aimed at discriminating against military personnel!

Ohio Secretary of State Mike DeWine has indicated he will appeal the ruling to the Court of Appeals, but this is one battleground state where the war on voting seems to be in retreat.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.