Update 9/29: The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the earlier ruling discussed below, thereby limiting early voting options in Ohio for the 2014 elections. Read more about the Court's decision.
In a win for voters, a federal judge ruled yesterday to restore early voting hours that had previously been cut in Ohio in time for the November election. The ruling significantly increases early voting hours on evenings and multiple Sundays and restores "Golden Week," during which voters can register and vote on the same day. The ruling also enables counties to add additional early voting hours at their discretion.
The ruling follows tireless work on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWVOH) and its Voting Rights Coalition partners in fighting to increase access to the vote. LWVOH was a lead plaintiff in the court case, filed by the ACLU, along with the NAACP. In 2012, tens of thousands of Ohioans relied on Ohio’s early voting periods, which had been eliminated until yesterday’s ruling. Evidence presented to the court showed that African American and low-income voters were more likely to vote during these times.
“This case is about fairness. The early voting times that were cut overwhelming impact some voters more than others. We agree with the court that voting – the cornerstone of democracy – should be easy and accessible for all voters,” said Carrie Davis, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio.
We hope to see more states adopt measures to aid voters and strengthen our democracy by increasing opportunities for voters to have their say. In the meantime, Leagues across the country are responding to elections law changes of all kinds by providing voters with accurate, up-to-date voting resources and information. With Election Day approaching, this work is more important than ever. Visit VOTE411.org, our "one-stop-shop" for elections related information, including important updates on your state’s elections, registration deadlines and local voting rules.