In a single sentence order the Supreme Court today rebuffed a plea by Ohio state officials to close early voting in the final three days before the election.
This is a big win for democracy in Ohio. Like we've seen around the country, it's been the courts, and for the first time the Supreme Court, that have halted efforts to restrict the vote.
This case was particularly vulgar in that the GOP tried to frame the lawsuit by the Obama administration to keep early voting for all as an infringement on the rights of veterans to vote early. Kay at Balloon Juice reminds us how it all evolved in Ohio:
The early voting law in Ohio was passed by a bipartisan majority as a response to the incompetent administration of the 2004 presidential election by Republican Ken Blackwell, who is now some sort of pundit-lobbyist-think tank director. We saw long lines and general chaos in 2004. Early voting is an option ALL voters in Ohio had until Republicans restricted it in 2011.
Early voting works. It’s convenient for voters and it takes pressure off polling places on election day. Voters love it. Yet Republicans are working very, very hard to rescind early voting. I’m confident we’ll be able to work around the barriers they’re throwing up, and Husted’s response isn’t shocking to anyone who has been paying attention since 2000, but it’s a battle every single damn day. They set up a barrier, we knock it down, they set up another one.
Rick Hasen was right to point out recently that both a federal district court and the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in this case "seemed to endorse a 'non-retorgression' principle." This is much in line with what Demos Fellow Tova Wang advocates with her "voter inclusion principle."
The freedom to vote is not something that should be left to the partisan machinations of whatever party holds power in statehouses around the country. The Supreme Court was right to block this move.