Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is going to the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a Friday decision by a federal appeals court here that restored early in-person voting on the final three days before the election.
"This is an unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections, and because of its impact on all 50 states as to who and how elections will be in run in America, we are asking the Supreme Court to step in and allow Ohioans to run Ohio elections,'' the Republican secretary of state said in a written statement.
Husted was referring to a decision Friday by the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturning Husted’s earlier order to the boards of elections in Ohio’s 88 counties that they could not stay open on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the Nov. 6 election for early voting.
The Obama campaign sued; and a federal judge ruled that the three days should be restored. Husted appealed to the Sixth Circuit, which agreed with the trial judge.
The Obama campaign’s lawyers argued that the ban was unconstitutionally unfair and, in effect, a plot by Republicans to suppress the votes of the poor, minorities and college students – all of whom tend to vote Democratic.
Husted said the Sixth Circuit decision “not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense.”
“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,’’ Husted said.
Husted said that if his appeal is not successful, “I am going to take time to consult with all 88 counties before crafting a directive to set uniform hours” for early in-person voting.
Hamilton County Board of Elections chairman Tim Burke – who is also chairman of the county Democratic Party – said he has “no idea” what Husted means by consulting with all 88 counties.
“Hopefully, the Supreme Court will decide very quickly not to hear this,’’ Burke said. “He (Husted) is under a federal court order to restore these three days.”
Burke said he believes it is all a GOP plot to suppress the African-American vote in this election.
“They still remember the long lines of people on those days four years ago; and the fact is most of those people were African-American and clearly were there to vote for Barack Obama,’’ Burke said.