Supreme Court says Ohioans can vote on final three days

Oct 16, 2012

Ohio voters will be able to cast ballots at their county boards of election on the final three days before the election, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s appeal of a federal court ruling.

Immediately after the decision was rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court, Husted, the Republican who is Ohio’s chief elections officer, issued a directive to all 88 county boards of elections setting uniform hours for voting in-person at the boards on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the Tuesday, Nov. 6 election.

The hours will be:
- 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3.
- 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4
- 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5.

Husted issued a written statement Tuesday afternoon conceding defeat on the issue.

"Despite the court's decision to deny our  request for a stay, I firmly believe Ohio and its elected legislature should set the rules with respect to elections in Ohio, and not the federal court system,'' Husted said. "However, the time has come to set aside the issue for this election."

Hamilton County Board of Elections chairman Tim Burke, a Democrat who favored keeping the board offices open on the final weekend, called the Supreme Court action “a pleasant surprise.”

Husted issued an order to boards of elections this summer telling them they could not stay open for early in-person voting on the final three days before the election.

The Obama campaign took Husted to federal court; and a federal court judge ruled that the hours be restored. When a federal appeals court upheld the trial court judge’s ruling, Husted asked the Supreme Court to overturn the appeals court decision.

Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not overturn the decision.

“We are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to overturn federal court rulings that every Ohioans be allowed to vote during the weekend and Monday before the election,’’ Obama campaign attorney Bob Bauer said in a written statement.

“This action marks the end of the road in our fight to ensure open voting this year for all Ohioans, including military, veterans and overseas voters,’’ Bauer said. “We now turn out attention to educating Ohio voters on when and how they can vote along with presenting the clear choice they face when selecting their next president."