Yesterday the Supreme Court refused a request to hear an appeal that asked the High Court to overturn a lower court's ruling that allows early voting for all Ohio residents. The state's Republican Elections Chief and Attorney General had filed the appeal to the Supreme Court. Early voting will be available to all Ohio residents in the upcoming election.
Earlier this month, Ohio's early voting option was reinstated by a federal appeals court, which upheld a lower court's ruling that struck down a law that limited early voting to military personnel. The law in question had allowed military personnel to participate in a three day early voting period, while barring civilians from the same access to early voting.
Grassroots organizers like Pastor Rousseau O'Neil, of Rockdale Baptist Church in Cincinnati, responded to the high court's reaction saying, "We saw that early voting made a tremendous difference four years ago and I suspect that it will have a tremendous impact this time around as well." O'Neil has been an active participant in voting programs such as the Souls to the Polls campaign.
In August, early voting stations in Ohio's Democratic-leaning counties were restricted, while its Republican-leaning counties saw their early voting hours expanded. Amid controversy, Ohio's Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that all Ohio districts will follow a uniform voting policy.
In Ohio during the 2008 presidential election, it is estimated that about 30 percent of the total vote (approximately 1.7 million ballots) was submitted before Election Day. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post remarked that "This is a big, big victory for the Obama campaign, and it could arguably make a difference to the outcome in the critical state of Ohio." Obama carried the state in 2008.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 10/16/12; Feminist Newswire 10/08/12; Associated Press 10/16/12; ACLU; Feminist Newswire 08/13/12; Feminist Newswire 08/16/12; Think Progress 07/30/12; Washington Post 10/16/12