There were two recent encouraging developments regarding the integrity of voting in this country- one from Wisconsin and the other from Ohio. At issue was a recently passed voter ID law in Wisconsin in which a federal district court, at the request of civil rights groups, issued an injunction against its enforcement in the November 4th election this year. On appeal to the 7 Circuit Court of Appeals, that injunction was lifted. The three judge panel noted that the Wisconsin law was not significantly different from that of Indiana- a voter ID law that was upheld by the United States Supreme Court. On appeal to the full 7th Circuit for an en banc hearing on the issue before the whole court, that appeal was denied after a 5-5 split (you need a majority). As it stands now, Wisconsin’s voter ID law will be in effect this coming November although these civil rights groups have the option of appealing to the US Supreme Court. But for all intents and purposes, the injunction has been lifted.
The Ohio case is different and it illustrates the Left’s attempt to rewrite history. This case involves early voting time frames. Recently there has been a trend in liberal states and among Leftist activists to essentially do away with “Election Day” and instead have an “election month” or longer. The issue in the Ohio case was seven days- the length of the early voting period. Prior to 2006, Ohio did not even have early voting. Subsequent changes to the law had extended that period to 35 days which was just recently rolled back to 28 days and elminated the Sunday and Monday before Election Day.
To the Left, this seven day difference is the difference between a voting rights violation and no violation. Mind you- early voting periods in Ohio is a phenomena less than a decade old. When it comes to voting rights, there is no requirement that any state even adopt early voting. Thus, for the Left to claim that rolling back the period is a voting rights violation- a period they are not even under any obligation to adopt in the first place- is ludicrous.
Even more ludicrous is the fact that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with this line of thinking. Thankfully, there is a United States Supreme Court which, upon appeal from the state of Ohio, ruled 5-4 (without comment) that the 28-day early voting period would go into effect, not the 35-day period. So instead of starting to vote today- September 30th- Ohioans have to wait until October 7th. If this is such a violation of one’s voting rights as the Left claims, what does this say about the voting rights of the electorate in states that do not even have early voting periods, like New York?
Furthermore, until the Sixth Circuit’s decision earlier this year, not a single court determined that any Ohio election law, rule or regulation violated the Voting Rights Act in the 40+ year history of that law. This sudden shift in the legal reasoning makes no sense. Oddly enough, the 6th Circuit is dominated by Bush appointees with only two Obama judges. Also, it should be noted that Ohio’s voting laws are considerably more liberal than any of its neighbors, including blue states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. Where is the outrage in these states which do not have (1) early in-person voting access, (2) no excuse absentee voting by mail, and (3) vote by mail applications, as Ohio does?
This is all stems back to 2005 and the issue in the craw of the Left- the erroneous belief that Bush stole Ohio in 2004. Then, an organization called Reform Ohio Now, put together a series of ballot initiatives which went down to defeat. Reform Ohio Now’s financial tentacles lead back to one unmistakeable head- George Soros. Considering that over 90% of that organization’s backing came from out-of-state sources (mainly organized labor), it is no wonder the measures went down to defeat. This was a veiled attempt by Leftist national groups and activists to write Ohio election laws. Thank God, the good people of Ohio saw this ruse for what it was and thank God the US Supreme Court used more commonsense than the Sixth Circuit used.