Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, John Husted, has been trying desperately to end early voting on the last weekend before this year’s election. The U.S. Supreme Court just cut him off at the knees.
While early voting has already started in Ohio, most of the hours during which it is being held are during the work week. According to the New York Times, the last weekend of the voting season in 2008 allowed about 105,000 voters to cast their ballots conveniently. Last year, Ohio’s Republican-dominated legislature passed a law restricting early voting and Husted issued a ruling that eliminated the last weekend, under the pretext that since the counties adopted varying hours, the process would be confusing. The Obama campaign sued.
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that voters would be irreparably harmed by limiting the voting and blocked the restrictive law from taking effect. Husted immediately appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. By issuing one sentence, the Supremes upheld the findings of the appeals court: “The application for stay presented to Justice [Elena] Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied.” Therefore,the appeals court decision stands.
In case there is any doubt about what the Republicans were trying to accomplish, a recent study showed that in densely populated Cuyahoga County, Ohio, black voters made up more than 56% of the early voting population in 2008, but only 25% of those voting on Election Day. For now, justice–and the Justices–have prevailed against the voter suppression trend by Republicans.