ACLU Sues Ohio After State Slashes Early Voting (Again)

By William Peacock, Esq. on May 01, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

This is appropriate, considering today is Law Day, and the ABA's theme for 2104 is voting rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Ohio Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and several African-American churches, after state officials passed a law and issued a mandate ending multiple early voting opportunities for Ohio voters in advance of the 2014 election.

Ohio Senate Bill 238 targets "Golden Week," which allows voters to register and vote on the same day, during the week preceding the election, while a directive from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted eliminates voting on Sundays, evenings, and the Monday before Election Day.

The ACLU's press release notes that low-income individuals often take advantage of the evening and weekend voting, either because they cannot take time off of work to vote, or because these times make finding child care opportunities easier. Homeless individuals benefit from the Golden Week same-day registration and voting. The complaint also notes that a disproportionately high percentage of early voters are African American.

This isn't Ohio's first attempt to end early voting. According to the ACLU, the state passed a law eliminating both the Golden Week and three days of early voting before Election Day, but the law was repealed by the legislature after voters organized a ballot referendum to strike it down.

In 2012, Husted eliminated the same three days of early voting for non-military voters, but a lawsuit by the Obama campaign forced the state to restore the early voting days.

Ohio NAACP v. Husted - ACLU Challenges Ohio's Curbing of Early Voting

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