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The Obama Ohio lawsuit- legally correct, politically a mistake

Stated simply, as a response to the 2004 debacle wherein tens of thousands of Ohio voters were disenfranchised by long lines and inefficient polling practices, the Ohio legislature went to no- fault absentee ballots. These apparently worked well in 2008. Voters could cast their votes in the three days prior to Election Day- the so-called “in person” absentee ballot. The Republican controlled Ohio General Assembly in May of this year determined that voters using the federal Uniform Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act ( military stationed there mostly) may vote early in person up to Monday before election Day Nov 6th while non “UOCVA” in person absentee voters have a deadline of the Friday before. The papers filed by the Obama re-election team allege that this provides unequal treatment to similarly situated voters in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and that it is effective disenfranchisement of voters who are arbitrarily cut-off while permitting others similarly situated to votes closer to Election Day. Certainly the politics drove the amendments to existing Ohio law since military voters even if voting in the state “in person” are overwhelmingly pro Republican and easing their access to vote favors Romney and others in the GOP on the ballot. However these realities would have had little real effect and now there is significant military outrage and pushback even though those deployed and truly “absent” are not effected. Obama loses the politics of this one and should have simply worked to get the votes out without giving the GOP another rallying cry. Wake up Axelrod.

-Mike

Posted by Dave on 08/06 at 05:32 PM

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