In a statement on Aug. 22, Secretary of State Jon Husted said of early voting, “The rules are set and are not going to change.” Husted made the comment in an attempt to end discussion over in-person early voting hours.
Unfortunately for Husted, a federal judge disagrees. Judge Peter Economus in an Aug. 31 ruling said in-person early voting must be restored for all registered voters to include the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day.
The ruling is the result of President Barack Obama’s campaign and the Ohio Democratic Party suing Husted. Before the ruling, only military personnel and their families were allowed to vote, which the Obama team and Democrats argued was unfair to non-military voters. With the ruling, everyone — including military personnel and their families — will be able to vote during the three days before election day.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said he will appeal the ruling, but, for now, the news comes as a victory to Obama and Democrats in the ongoing struggle over early voting hours.
Republicans have tried to block any statewide expansion of in-person early voting, citing costs and racial politics.