The U.S. Supreme Court sealed a legal victory for President Barack Obama’s campaign in the pivotal state of Ohio, leaving intact a ruling that restored early voting rights for the weekend before the Nov. 6 election.
Ohio Republicans had sought to cancel early voting that weekend for everyone except members of the military. A U.S. appeals court blocked the plan last week, saying it probably violated the constitutional rights of non-military voters. In a one-sentence order, the Supreme Court today rejected a challenge to that ruling, filed by Ohio’s Republican secretary of state and attorney general.
The decision marks another defeat for Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has sought over the past year to cut back on early voting hours, particularly in areas in which early voting favors Democrats. The early voting hours had been added after long lines had led to many people choosing to step out of the queue in 2004 and not cast a ballot at all. But the GOP-dominated legislature and Republican Husted had decided to do what they could to reduce those hours after they led to a larger turnout in 2008 in those Democratic areas, helping Barack Obama and two Democratic congressional candidates who weren’t expected to win seats to victory in Ohio.
Ohioans will now be able to vote on the weekend and Monday before the Nov. 6 election.