All Ohioans Get Final Three Days of Early Voting

Appeals court upholds rights to vote on final weekend and Monday before Election Day

President Barack Obama speaking at the Democratic National Convention in September of 2012
President Barack Obama speaking at the Democratic National Convention in September of 2012

A federal appeals court has upheld three extra days of voting for everyone. The ruling by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today means county boards of election will be allowed to stay open for all voters the weekend and Monday before Election Day. Previously, only military personnel and their families were allowed to vote on those days.

UPDATE: Secretary of State Jon Husted said he will make a decision about what to do with the court's ruling after the weekend. It is possible Husted could decide to keep all polling booths closed on the three days. While the court ruling makes it so boards of election can't allow only military voters to vote on the weekend and Monday before Election Day, it does give boards of election the choice to close down on the three days. Husted could decide to open or close all boards of election on the days with uniform policy like he's done in the past. Such policy could eliminate those three voting days for everyone, including military voters.

The Republican-controlled state government appealed the original ruling after a federal judge ruled in favor of President Barack Obama's campaign and the Democrats and expanded in-person early voting to include the three extra days. The appeals court's ruling upholds the previous decision.

In the past few months, Republicans have insisted early voting should not be expanded further due to racial politics and cost concerns. That prompted Obama and the Democrats to take the state government to court, much to the dismay of local Republicans that voiced concerns about the lawsuit making voting lines too long for military voters.

With this appeal, Republicans are now running out of options for blocking expanded in-person early voting. Previously, Husted sent directives to county boards of election to not listen to the initial ruling, but Husted quickly backed down when the federal judge involved in the ruling called him to court.

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