08/07/12 Ohio’s Ballot Battle


Ohio is a swing state. Whatever happens there affects us all.

The Obama campaign has sued Ohio over early voting.  The argument over military voting is politically convenient but essentially meaningless.  And nearly every political analyst has gotten this one wrong.

[Fifteen military-affiliated organizations representing servicemen and women filed a legal brief in defense of the state of Ohio’s Secretary of State and Attorney-General who were named defendants due to their official capacities.  The military groups’ key argument focused on the Constitutional principles addressed in the Obama for America lawsuit.]

In 2008, in-person early voting was allowed in the 35 days prior to the general election.  That same year 66 Ohio counties voted for John McCain.  Twenty-two voted for Barack Obama.

But only six of the 88 counties were open for voting the Saturday and Sunday before Election Day.

[These counties were Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Montgomery and Summit which are home to the cities of Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton and Akron, respectively.]

Last year Ohio passed legislation to make it uniform and end early voting on Friday giving everyone 32 days. With one exception. Military could still early-vote in-person through Monday. This is likely a very small number.  Overseas military are unaffected.

Obama’s people argue they want to extend early voting to all Ohioans through Monday.  But remember — only six out of 88 counties were open that weekend. They were also 6 of the most populated.  And all 6 voted for Obama.  

Black churches in those counties organized a “Souls to the Polls” campaign to drive Obama voters straight from church to vote.
So the Obama lawsuit is not about equal access. Instead, it would give a voting advantage to Obama strongholds. In a swing state.