Commentary & Opinion
To disqualify absentee ballots already cast based on a judicial change in the applicable rules for counting those ballots violates a Due Process principle articulated in Griffin v. Burns, 570 F.2d 1065 (1st Cir. 1978), among other precedents.
Briefing is now in the U.S. Supreme Court on Ohio’s emergency motion to stay the district court injunction restoring the rules regarding same day registration and early voting that existed before legislation enacted earlier this year (SB 238). In a previous post, I explained why the district court and Sixth Circuit panel’s rulings were faithful applications of legal precedent requiring close attention to the context in which restrictions on voting are enacted. This post explains why it would be unwise and disruptive for the Supreme Court to change the rules now – now literally on the eve of an election -- responding to comments that my colleague Ned Foley posted yesterday.
Some thoughts on the legal issues involved.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld the district court’s ruling in in NAACP v. Husted, which stopped new restrictions on early voting from taking effect. This decision is good news for Ohio voters. It faithfully applies existing law to the evidence admitted in the district court, maintaining the established period for same day registration and early voting. The federal courts have done their job by safeguarding voters against partisan manipulation of election rules. This comment explains why the ruling is correct and why Ohio’s call to stay the existing court order should be rejected, especially now that same day registration and early voting are just about to begin.
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