Obama re-election campaign sues Ohio Secretary of State

5:19 PM, Jul 17, 2012   |    comments
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CINCINNATI -- The Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party sued Ohio's Secretary of State in federal court Tuesday.

The lawsuit argues that restrictions on balloting the three days before Election Day violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.

The lawsuit, which names Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine as defendants, focuses on the Republican rewrite of state elections law, political analysts said.

This comes after GOP legislators in Columbus repealed most of the measures in May but left intact a ban on in-person absentee voting during the final three days.

Political analysts say those three days were key to Obama's turnout operation four years ago when he won Ohio.

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit against Ohio's laws pertaining to in-person voting three days before Election Day:

"Democrats' outcry now is a just another circus sideshow. The provision being attacked comes from HB 224 which was passed with Democratic support; it's confusing for Democrats to be suing over this when they supported it in the first place."

"Nobody is being disenfranchised here, as Ohio's voters who choose to vote early can do so by mail 24 hours a day, seven days a week or at early voting polls. Furthermore, for the first time ever in Ohio's history, the Secretary of State has gone to great lengths to accommodate everyone's right to vote by sending every registered voter in Ohio an absentee request form."

On Tuesday, Obama for America-Ohio Senior Advisor Aaron Pickrell, the Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, and the Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on the filing of Obama for America vs Husted:

"In 2004, before early voting was allowed in Ohio, voters faced disastrous conditions when they showed up to cast their vote on Election Day: widespread mismanagement, 7 hour long lines, and broken machinery. Many Ohioans waited in line for hours, while many others had to walk away."

"Then came Early Voting. For the past 7 years, Ohioans have been able to cast their votes before Election Day, ensuring that the broken system that silenced so many Ohio voters in 2004 would never happen again."

"Early Vote has proven to be an effective way for Ohioans to make their voices heard. In 2008, 30 percent of all votes were cast early, with nearly 93,000 people casting their ballot during the last three days of Early Voting."

"Now, Ohio Republicans are threatening that right. Last year, they passed HB 194, a law that restricted voting rights by drastically reducing Early Vote including the most important Early Voting days for most Ohioans - the 3 days leading up to Election Day."

"Ohioans overwhelmingly rejected this partisan attempt to restrict voting when they turned in 300,000 signatures last December, placing it on the ballot and forcing it to be suspended until Ohioans could vote on the measure this coming November."

"But voters never got the chance to make their voices heard. Through a series of legislative maneuvering concluding with a bill passed this May, Republicans were able to remove the last three days of Early Voting for the vast majority of Ohio voters, a cynical move that is both unfair and unjust."

"The last three days of Early Vote are especially important to ensuring a free and fair election. That is why today, we are moving forward in the fight to reinstate the last 3 days of Early Voting and ensure that all Ohio voters can make their voices heard this November."


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