Franklin County Board of Elections employees talk to voters at their polling location on the first day of in-person absentee voting in Columbus, Ohio, on October 2, 2012.
Today, a federal appeals court ruled that all Ohioans [in a county] should be allowed to cast early votes on the weekend before the election if any Ohioans are allowed to do so.
A split three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Obama campaign and Ohio Democrats in the ruling, which upheld a trial court ruling from earlier this year.
The ruling against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, which could be appealed to the full Sixth Circuit or to the Supreme Court, came in a challenge to a recently passed state law that would have allowed those voting under a federal law allowing military voters and their families to vote early but no other Ohioans.
University of California, Irvine, law professor Rick Hasen, an election law expert, urged caution regarding today’s ruling, writing at his Election Law Blog, “I am surprised by this decision … and it may not survive further review en banc in the Sixth Circuit or at the Supreme Court, should Ohio choose to appeal.”
Husted, a Republican who has clashed with Democrats about voting issues several times already this year, has said his office is reviewing the ruling and added, “No action will be taken today, or this weekend.”