Supreme Court Refuses Republican Request to Halt Early Voting in Ohio

Supreme Court refuses Republican request to halt early voting in Ohio days before election.

By Jorge Rivas Oct 16, 2012

The Supreme Court has got plenty of big cases on its docket, but Ohio’s early voting won’t be one of them. Earlier this month a federal appeals court blocked the state from cutting off its early voting hours — and made plenty of conservatives angry. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court refused a Republican request to get involved in the dispute.

Ohio’s early voting window in 2008 included the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before Election Day, which many black churches took advantage of in their "souls to the polls" campaigns that bussed voters to the polls after Sunday service. This boosted black voter turnout, something that upset Doug Priesse, a GOP county election board member, who said "I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine."

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted argued that local county boards of elections are too busy preparing for Election Day to accommodate early voters and that "voters already have at least 230 hours available to vote in person prior to Election Day."

Husted’s decision led to the proposed restrictions that would have allowed only military members and their families to vote in person in the last three days before the Nov. 6 election.

Early voting has grown rapidly over the past few election cycles. In 2008, more than 30 percent of votes were cast before Election Day.

Obama currently leads Romney by 59 percent to 31 percent among early voters, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling data compiled in recent weeks.