Saturday, August 04, 2012

Fox News falsely implies Obama curtailing military voting in Ohio


A Fox News report Friday night suggested that the Democratic National Committee and President Obama’s campaign were suing to strip voting privileges from members of the military and their families in Ohio, even though the lawsuit in no way cuts back on that group’s voting rights.
“If President Obama gets his way, the special voting rights of some of America’s finest will be eliminated,” host Shannon Bream said. “The campaign is suing to keep members of the military from having extra time to cast their ballots in one key battlegound state.”
In actuality, the complaint filed by the Obama campaign would reinstate special voting rights that, until recently, extended to all Ohioans and not just those serving in the armed forces.
The issue stems from the Republican-controlled legislature’s decision late last year to alter early voting procedures. In the past, all voters could cast ballots in the three days prior to the election. But under the new law, only members of the military would be allowed to vote through the Monday immediately before the election, while early voting for non-military citizens would end the previous Friday.
Naming Ohio’s Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted—both of whom are Republicans—as plaintiffs, the DNC, Ohio’s Democratic Party and Obama’s campaign filed suit arguing the the new law creates an unconstitutional tiered voting system.
“This disparate treatment violates 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and can be rectified by the Court enjoining enforcement of statutory changes that eliminate early in-person voting for most Ohioans during the three days before an election,” the parties wrote in the suit.
The suit would not prevent military members from, “having extra time” to vote, as the Fox report insinuated. Rather, it asks that the court, by blocking enactment of the new law, reinstate the extra time all voters used to enjoy for casting their ballots.
Ohio enacted a blanket early voting policy after the 2004 election, when long lines and equipment failures resulted in widespread problems and hours-long delays.

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