A federal judge in Ohio on Friday restored early voting rights in the three days before the election, ruling in favor of the Obama campaign.
U.S. District judge Peter C. Economus ruled that “restoring in-person early voting to all Ohio voters through the Monday before Election Day does not deprive UOCAVA voters from early voting.”
As TPM noted in an earlier post, Romney and the Ohio GOP had tried to argue for suppressing early voting on the bizarre grounds that it somehow hurt veterans. Judge Economus, in his decision, rightly called shenanigans on that claim — and with harsh words for Ohio’s Secretary of State, a Republican named Jon Husted:
Finally, this Court notes that restoring in-person early voting to all Ohio voters through the Monday before Election Day does not deprive UOCAVA voters from early voting. Instead, and more importantly, it places all Ohio voters on equal standing. The only hindrance to UOCAVA early voting is the Secretary of State’s failure to set uniform hours at elections boards during the last three days before Election Day.
Judge Economus also said that the state (aka the Ohio Republican Party and Jon Husted) “fails to articulate a precise, compelling interest in establishing the [Husted-imposed] 6 p.m. Friday deadline as applied to non-UOCAVA voters and has failed to evidence any commitment to the ‘exception’ it rhetorically extended to UOCAVA voters.”
As our own David Dayen noted yesterday, this wasn’t the only smackdown the forces of vote suppression received this week. In Texas, not only did the latest Republican gerrymandering effort get bounced on its ear in DC Federal court, but the GOP’s second-favorite pet project, its version of the ALEC Voter ID law, also got spanked by a Federal court in DC: “A three-judge panel in Washington ruled Thursday that the law imposes “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” and noted that racial minorities in Texas are more likely to live in poverty.” And in Florida and Wisconsin, similar efforts to suppress voting were recently turned back by various courts.
In other words, Mitt Romney’s planned road to the White House just got a lot rougher.
On the whole, it might be a good thing for Romney that people aren’t as interested in the 2012 RNC as they were in the 2008 RNC, if watching the 2012 RNC meant seeing Clint Eastwood doing his, um, interesting performance art that some suspect of being deliberate sabotage. (By the way, President Obama responded to Eastwood v. Chair with a photo of the POTUS in a chair, stating via Twitter that “This seat’s taken”.)