Court strikes down Ohio early voting restrictions Friday - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Court strikes down Ohio early voting restrictions

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ruling handed down from the 6th District Court of Appeals Friday says that Ohio cannot prevent voters from participating in in-person early voting. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs: Obama for America, the Democratic National Convention, and the Ohio Democratic Party.  

The ruling affirms a lower court decision granting an injunction on Ohio Rev. Code § 3509.03 which prevents some Ohio voters from casting in-person ballots on the three days before the election. The Court affirmed the ruling on the basis that the statute violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

However, the ruling does not require the state to allow in-person early voting, but rather gives the discretion to local boards of election. The ruling makes early voting procedures the same as they were before § 3509.03 was enacted.

The court majority opinion explains that the burden placed on citizens ability to cast early ballots outweighs the burden placed on local boards of election, which have allowed early voting in past elections.

"The burden on non-military Ohio voters' ability to cast ballots, particularly when many of those voters will likely be unable to vote on Election Day or during the day at local boards of elections because of work schedules, outweighs any corresponding burden on the State, which has not shown that local boards will be unable to cope with three extra days of in-person early voting—as they have successfully done in past elections," said the court.

"My office is reviewing today's decision by the court as we determine the best course of action moving forward," said Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.  

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