Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Same-Day Voting Permitted In Ohio

You may recall hearing about a controversy regarding so-called "same-day voting" in Ohio. When the Republican-controlled legislature rewrote our election law, it created a five-day window during which people could both register to vote and cast their absentee ballot. Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has interpreted the law to allow people to do both on the same day.

The Ohio GOP disagreed with Brunner, and has filed lawsuits to prevent same-day voting. The courts have now ruled that Brunner is right and the Republicans are wrong.

Yesterday, the Republican justices of the Ohio Supreme Court, by a 4-3 vote, dismissed the lawsuit that sought to prevent same-day voting. Its order is available here. The Republicans also have filed suit in federal court seeking to enjoin same-day voting. United States District Court Judge George Smith (appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan) has issued an order (available here) deferring to the judgment of the Ohio Supreme Court, but requiring that observors be permitted to be present. His decision has been appealed to the Sixth Circuit, which will almost certainly order expedited briefing and rule quite quickly.

The upshot: if you are not registered to vote, you can both register and cast an absentee ballot on the same day from now through October 6. So can your family, friends, and neighbors. So pass the word and go vote.

The Enquirer's article (albeit with a misleading lede) is here. For up-to-the minute coverage of Ohio election litigation, check the Election Law Blog, based at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University.

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