The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to reinstate the week in which Ohioans could register to vote and cast ballots at the same time – effectively setting October 12 as the first day of early voting.
The Supreme Court denied a request from Ohio Democrats to restore the so-called Golden Week for this election. They're appealing a ruling in favor of the 2014 Republican-backed law that cut out Golden Week permanently and shortened the early voting period from 35 days to 28 or 29 days. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted noted there were no justices who were opposed to the decision not to hear the case. “That means that all of the Supreme Court justices feel Ohio’s system of voting is very generous and that we treat voters in a way that is in line with the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act,” Husted said.
A lower court had ruled eliminating Golden Week disproportionately hurt African American voters, but an appeals court rejected that. Democrats say 80,000 people cast ballots during Golden Week in 2012.
Husted and other Republicans have called the lawsuits over Ohio's voting laws wasteful, and Democratic Rep. Kathleen Clyde of Kent said she hoped there won’t be further need for court action. “I think if Republicans leave this alone – which they haven’t done in the legislature – we’ll be happy to turn our focus to voter education and other issues,” Clyde said.
Clyde said she’s disappointed the Supreme Court won't hear this case, but she's pleased with rulings upholding evening hours and voting on the weekend before the election, which she says are the busiest days of early voting.