Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has announced that he will appeal a court ruling allowing more early voting to the U.S. Supreme Court. His decision means that voters in the key swing state of Ohio still do not know how long early voting lasts. Husted's Republican Party tried to cut early voting by half this year, and they were able to cut only the last three days, including the final weekend and Monday before the election. On Friday, a federal court ruled that counties could allow those days.
From Husted's statement:
The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning.
“While I will be asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Ohio law through the appeals process, the last thing I want to see is a non-uniform system where voters will be treated differently in all 88 counties.
People who have followed Husted in recent months will remember that he voted to allow different sets of rules in different counties -- specifically with the effect that Republican-leaning counties got more time to vote than Democratic-leaning counties. An outcry from "antagonists," as he described them in August, forced him to change course.
Early voting was especially popular with African-American voters in 2008; in Cleveland, they were 26 times more likely to vote early and in person than white voters.
Today's decision comes as the Romney campaign makes a new push for Ohio.