The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled today that Ohio’s attempts to limit early voting — a subject that will be argued tomorrow in front of the Fourth Circuit when it considers North Carolina’s recently enacted voting restrictions — are in fact unconstitutional. This is from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
A federal appeals court on Wednesday affirmed a district court decision restoring early voting cuts and expanding early voting hours.
The ruling from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is a setback for Secretary of State Jon Husted, who had appealed a lower court’s order that he expand early voting hours.
The three-judge panel previously rejected a request to delay the court order pending Husted’s appeal. Husted then expanded statewide early, in-person voting hours while the case proceeded.
Civil rights groups and several African-American churches sued state officials in May over a new state law eliminating “Golden Week,” a week-long window when people could both register to vote and cast a ballot in Ohio, and a statewide early, in-person voting schedule that did not include Sundays. Attorneys led by the American Civil Liberties Union successfully argued in U.S. Southern District Court that the reduced number of days burdened low-income and African-American Ohioans who are more likely to take advantage of Golden Week and Sunday voting.
U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus agreed. He ruled that once Ohio granted a broad scheme of early, in-person voting, state officials could not reduce it in a way that burdened certain groups of voters.
Read the court’s unanimous ruling by clicking here.