Voting Rights

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Ohio officials to reinstate a week of same-day registration and early voting before an election, finding a 2014 state law eliminating the practice violated the Constitution by depressing African-American voting.

Judge Michael Watson said this in his ruling:

They have greater time and resource limitations that may prevent them from waiting in line on Election Day and are less likely to vote absentee.

Never mind that there are no impediments to voting absentee.  Not economic, transportation, time, [or] child-care constraints that increase the cost of voting.

This is a bad ruling.  Not only has he misstated the impediments, he also has applied the wrong solution to his claimed wrong.  The second paragraph of the 14th Amendment prescribes the penalty to be applied to a State that has deprived some of its voting-eligible citizens of their right to vote.  Which, of course this judge knows, since he explicitly cited that paragraph in his ruling.

Judges like this are forcing an end to early voting altogether and requiring voting to go back exclusively to in-person on election day or by absentee ballot.

‘Course, that might not be a bad outcome in its own right.  Absentee ballot voting also is early voting.  And couch potatoes need go no farther than their mailbox to vote.

Watson’s ruling can be seen here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *