United States District Court judge Peter Economus, a registered Democrat appointed by President Clinton, ruled in favor of President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign today, instructing Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to allow early in-person voting the weekend before the November election.
Ohio’s early in-person absentee voting hours begin in less than a month, and all registered voters in Ohio will be mailed absentee ballot applications. The federal court ruling will allow counties to hold weekend in-person voting hours, but only on the weekend immediately prior to Election Day.
Absent Economus’s ruling, the early voting schedule was set to allow military voters to cast early ballots through the day before the election, while non-military voters would be able to cast early ballots until 6:00 PM on Friday, November 2.
“‘In-person early voting’ is a voting term that had included the right to vote in person through the Monday before Election Day, and, now, thousands of voters who would have voted during those three days will not be able to exercise their right to cast a vote in person,” Economus wrote in his decision.
In July, Obama for America, the Ohio Democratic Party, and the Democratic National Committee sued Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine – who are both Republicans – demanding that all Ohioans have the same weekend voting privileges as military voters. Early in-person voting was a key component of Obama’s 2008 election strategy.
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