Federal Judge Voids Changes In Ohio Early Voting Law In A Troubling Decision

A Federal Judge in Ohio has issued a very troubling ruling on that state's early voting law.

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Late last week, a Federal Judge blocked efforts by Ohio’s Republican Governor and State Legislature to decrease the number of days of early voting available in the Buckeye State, continuing a battle that began in the months before the 2012 Presidential election:

A federal judge on Thursday blocked Ohio’s cuts to early voting and ordered the state to establish additional polling days before November’s elections, saying the reductions would disproportionately harm the poor and members of minority groups.

The preliminary injunction issued by Judge Peter C. Economus was a setback for Gov. John R. Kasich, a Republican and vocal proponent of the measures, and could affect the upcoming elections in Ohio, a closely contested swing state.

Judge Economus’s ruling directed Ohio to restore early voting during evenings and on at least two Sundays, and to reinstate Golden Week, the first week of early voting in which many African-American churches organize congregants to register and vote on the same day. Mr. Kasich and his supporters have said the measures were needed to reduce fraud, save money and create uniformity of practice across the state, and that the four-week early voting period allowed sufficient time for people to cast ballots.

A spokesman for the state attorney general, Mike DeWine, said the state would review the ruling before deciding whether to appeal.

The United States Justice Department filed a statement of interest in the case and has challenged similar measures elsewhere, including in North Carolina.

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Ohio Conference of the N.A.A.C.P., several African-American churches and the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

“This ruling means that thousands of voters who have needed these particular early voting opportunities will continue to have that right,” said Dale Ho, director of the A.C.L.U.’s Voting Rights Project.

Ohio introduced early voting in 2008 after encountering significant problems during the 2004 election, including people waiting in lines at polling sites for as long as six hours. In 2012, of the 5.6 million votes cast, 1.9 million were cast early, including about 600,000 that were cast early in person, according to the Ohio secretary of state’s office.

But in February, Democrats and civil rights groups objected after Mr. Kasich signed a bill eliminating Golden Week, reducing to 28 days from 35 days the time given in which early voting could take place. And Jon A. Husted, Ohio’s secretary of state, issued a directive limiting evening and weekend hours. Like Mr. Kasich, Mr. Husted and Mr. DeWine are Republican. The poor and minorities tend to vote Democratic. Mr. Husted said Thursday that he believed the state should appeal the decision.

The “ruling kicks the door open to having different rules for voting in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, which is not fair and uniform,” he said in a statement.

Judge Economus wrote that the state’s measures violated both the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act by creating unlawful barriers to the polls for minorities and the poor. The state’s arguments about reducing fraud, according to the judge, “did not withstand logical scrutiny.”

There has been virtually no in-person voter fraud documented in the country.

The ruling cited a study of early voting in Cuyahoga County — the greater Cleveland area — in 2008 that found that African-American voters were more than 26 times more likely to have cast ballots during the early voting period than white voters.

“Despite accounting for a mere 28.6 percent of the estimated overall vote, African-American voters cast an estimated 77.9 percent of all” early votes in the county that year, the ruling said.

A second study cited by Judge Economus found that early voters who were white, African-American or Latino had lower incomes than those who cast ballots on Election Day or by mail.

The ruling said that restricting Sunday voting would have a similar effect because many of those early voters were African-Americans who voted after attending church services as part of a “Souls to the Polls” initiative.

This isn’t the first time that Ohio’s early voting laws have found their way into Federal Court. Prior to the 2012 election, the Ohio legislature passed into law a different bill which ended early voting for most voters on the Friday before Election Day, but allowed members of the military to continue to vote early through the Monday before the election as Ohio voters had done in the 2008 election. The Obama campaign and several other organizations filed a lawsuit against the law, arguing that the state was impermissably giving a preference to a certain class of voters. That lawsuit ended up before Judge Economus as well and, in a pre-Labor Day 2012 decision, he ruled that the state could not limit the last three days of early voting to just a certain class of voters and ordered Ohio to reopen those days to all voters. That decision was upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court declined to intervene in the matter.

The case before the court now involves  new law that changes the schedule of early voting from what had been enacted in the wake of the 2004, primarily by restricting early voting days on the weekends and at other times. The state argues that one of the primary reasons for this decision is the fact that many election clerks in Ohio’s counties had stated that participation in early voting on these days has been historically light and that the extra expenditure of resources involved in keeping offices open even if nobody is coming in to vote was a strain on their budget. Opponents of the law argued that the law primarily impacted minority voters, and obviously Judge Economus accepted their argument. Even if you are proponent of early voting, though, there is something about this decision that is troubling.

Rick Hasen finds the Courts ruling, which is going to be appealed, to be potentially huge in its impact if its allowed to stand:

4. The judge found as a matter of fact (crediting expert reports of the plaintiffs’ especially that of U. Florida’s Dan Smith) that the cutbacks in early voting would disproportionately fall on African-Americans. The judge found that early voters, especially in the larger population areas of the state, included a large portion of the state’s share of African-American voters. The judge also found that African-American voters were distrustful of absentee balloting as an alternative to in person voting, and that absentee balloting was more burdensome (filling out the materials, postage, mailing, etc.)

5. The judge concluded that the cutbacks in early voting constituted an equal protection violation under the Sixth Circuit’s cases describing equal protection standards in elections and a violation of section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Both of these holdings are legally controversial. It is possible that the Sixth Circuit (depending on the panel) could agree with these rulings, but that is not certain. if the Supreme Court considered these issues, I would expect a reversal, but it is not clear that the Supreme Court will choose to get involved in this case if Ohio tries to take it this far.

6. The main problem with the equal protection theory and the VRA section 2 theory is the same: Ohio’s law is not all that burdensome, and in fact it provides many opportunities for voting (such as a still very long early voting period of 28 days and no excuse absentee balloting for a long period) which are not available in other states. If 28 days is unconstitutional and a voting rights violation, what does this say about places like New York, which offer no early voting?  Although the judge says he is not applying a “non-retrogression” standard such as that which used to exist under section 5 of the VRA, that appears to be what he is doing to at least some extent. The judge says the cutbacks are relevant in a totality of the circumstances approach to section 2 VRA applicability.

Jonathan Adler, meanwhile, points out a troubling aspect of the decision:

A particularly troubling aspect of the ruling is the implicit suggestion that once voting times have been expanded or voting has been made easier, such changes may not be undone.  This is particularly so because, as Hasen notes, the changes here are relatively minor.  I find it hard to believe a majority of the Supreme Court would conclude that either the Constitution or the VRA creates this sort of one-way ratchet in election law.

A particular difficulty in evaluating these sorts of claims, however, is that all such analysis occurs with clear knowledge of who wins and who loses from any change, and we can expect partisans of each party to press their advantage.  That is, neither party has a principled position on what ideal voting rules would look like.  Is early voting a good idea? The answer you get is likely to depend on what assumptions are made about who is more likely to turn out.

Each party seeks rules that make it more likely that its own voters are more likely to go to the polls, and (unlike in prior times) they now have the data to hone their approach. Particularly where, as here, the relevant changes are relatively small, I have a hard time crediting the argument that there are larger principles at stake, and an even harder time accepting that (absent evidence of impermissible motivation, such as racial animus) that these sorts of changes are unconstitutional.

Adler has a very good point here. The Constitution gives states broad authority under which to set the time, place, and manner of elections. To the extent that they are limited by Federal law, it is when the Voting Rights Act comes into play and changes are enacted solely for the purpose of making it harder for certain ethnic groups to vote. There is no legal or constitutional requirement that states offer early voting, for example, and yet in this decision Judge Economus has seemingly come dangerously close t the point of creating just that kind of right, and thus upending the clear language of the Constitution when it comes to which level of government has the authority to regulate how elections are conducted. If it was impermissible for Ohio to enact a relatively de minimis change in its early voting laws, for example, then what does that say about states that don’t allow in person early voting at all? If a legislative minority in one of these states loses a battle to enact an early voting law and tries to take the matter to court, then how hard would it be for a judge who is willing to do so to apply the logic of this decision and rule that the state must enact early voting? While advocates for early voting, which has never been shown to actually increase turnout notwithstanding the arguments of its proponents, may find such an outcome to be a victory it is hardly a good thing when Federal Courts are given the authority to rewrite the Constitution in this manner and take away from the states the authority that the Constitution gives them to regulate the time, place, and manner of elections.

Even if one believes early voting to be a good thing, and even if it were true that it did increase turnout, whether or not to implement it, and how to implement, is something that the Constitution, properly, leaves to the states. To take Judge Economus’s decision at face value, one must accept without question the idea that there is some kind of compelling Federal Government interest in 35 days of early voting in Ohio rather than just 28 days. Well, if there’s a compelling interest for 35 days, then why not 42, or 49? Who gets to decide how long the early voting period gets to be, or where the early voting locations are located? The Constitution gives that power to the states in Article I, Section 4, and while the Federal Government does have some concurrent jurisdiction on the issue in Federal Elections, such as the grant to Congress to determine the time when Presidential electors are chosen in Article II as well as 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th Amendments, it has generally been held that the states have the predominant power in determining how their elections are conducted.  Judge Economus turns that entire notion on its head and, inappropriately in my opinion, places Federal Judges in the role of determining the proper length of early voting. If judges can do that, then why couldn’t they order states that don’t allow early voting to provide it? Under the logic of the opinion, I’m not sure there’s really a difference, and that’s a problem.

Here’s the opinion:

Ohio State Conference of the NAACP Et Al v. Hulsted by Doug Mataconis

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, Law and the Courts, Race and Politics, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    Quoting from the quoted part by Jonathan Aldler:

    I find it hard to believe a majority of the Supreme Court would conclude that either the Constitution or the VRA creates this sort of one-way ratchet in election law.

    Given that the early voting laws were enacted because of the extremely long lines in poor and minority precincts in 2004, cutting back on the remedy may require special scrutiny.

    Each party seeks rules that make it more likely that its own voters are more likely to go to the polls, and (unlike in prior times) they now have the data to hone their approach.

    Well, here I have to call BS. The Democrats have been trying to ensure that their voters can get to the polls by expanding access, but the Republicans have been cutting access to make sure Democrat-leaning voters cannot get to the polls.




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  2. MBunge says:

    People have a right to vote. Republicans are CLEARLY seeking to put impediments in the way of exercising that right, for no other reason than their own political advantage. It is an attack on the very legitimacy of our democratic process. That is the context for this discussion.

    As a matter of public policy, I cannot see that there is anything good that can come from looking the other way or accommodating the GOP’s apparent decision that if they can’t get people to vote for them, they’ll just try to keep those people from voting.

    Mike




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  3. Gustopher says:

    And also, from Mr. Mataconis’s commentary:

    Even if one believes early voting to be a good thing, and even if it were true that it did increase turnout, whether or not to implement it, and how to implement, is something that the Constitution, properly, leaves to the states.

    The constitution also requires that all citizens have equal access to the polls, through the 14th Amendment. When the state implements voting in such a way that it disenfranchises a segment of the population, the federal courts absolutely should intervene.

    The original problem in 2004 effectively disenfranchised poor and minority voters (and may have affected the outcome of the Presidential election through this disenfranchisement), and the state correctly began implementing changes to address that. As the state attempts to reduce those changes, it is reasonable for the courts to look at this.

    I don’t know if the early voting eliminated the 6-8 hour polling lines, or whether the change from 35 to 28 days will have much effect, but these are good questions for the federal courts to be weighing.




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  4. Tyrell says:

    Now we have a judge creating procedures for a board of elections. Weird, bizarre! Why not do something about the long lines at the DMV ? I waited over two hours a while back to get my license renewed!
    I guess next he will tell them how to arrange the tables and the thermostat settings. Wby not start just start early voting in July? How about requiring that they serve coffee and donuts? Now I could go along with that !




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  5. Ron Beasley says:

    Vote By Mail. Makes it easier to vote and saves money. We have had it here in Oregon for over a decade and no increase in voter fraud and one of the highest voter participation rates in the country. Your name is taken off the voter rolls when the death certificate is issued. The State of Washington now has it too and California now makes it very easy to get an absentee ballot and will probably son follow Oregon and Washington. We receive our ballots in the mail about 3 weeks before the election and have to sign the security envelop so it can be checked against officiasl records.




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  6. Bob@youngstown says:

    Why not do something about the long lines at the DMV ?

    You and I have a right to vote. We have no right to renew driving license.

    As an Ohio voter who has had to wait for over two hours to exercise my right to vote, I approve of making it easier to vote.

    What is not addressed is the local Boards of Elections , appointed by the Republicans, are cutting the number of voting locations.

    @Ron,
    I agree completely!




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  7. sam says:

    “Each party seeks rules that make it more likely that its own voters are more likely to go to the polls”

    Adler is looking through the wrong end of the telescope. What we have seen are state Republican parties, when they control the legislatures and executive, imposing rules that make it more unlikely that their opponents will go to the polls.




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  8. michael reynolds says:

    The Democrats want more people to vote, the Republicans want fewer people to vote, and Doug Mataconis sides with Republicans. Cutting through the layers of rationalization, that’s the essence of this. We Democrats want more Americans to be able to vote and have a hand in choosing their government, and Doug, the libertarian, wants fewer Americans to participate.

    I was not previously aware that libertarians favored restricting access to the ballot in ways intended to favor one party. Must be a new thing. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that in Rand Paul libertarians think they may actually have a dog in the fight? Ohio always rests on a knife’s edge and if only we can get black people to stop voting, why, maybe Rand could carry Ohio. And some other states. Maybe even be elected.

    The goal is power. The impediment is minority voters. The solution is blocking minority participation. The rationale is “state’s rights” as it so often is when the “problem” is black people.




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  9. @michael reynolds:

    There is no evidence, none at all, that early voting actually increases turnout. And the idea that there is any substantive difference between 28 days of early voting and 35 days of early voting is laughably absurd.

    Whether or not early voting is allowed, and the terms under which it is allowed are matters best decided by the state legislature, not a Federal Judge.

    This decision will not survive appeal.




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  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Doug, 100% of these new roll-backs are being passed by Republican legislatures. In every single case. So let’s cut the b.s., shall we? The entire point of the exercise is to reduce minority participation in American government. You support reducing minority votes.




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  11. @michael reynolds:

    As a matter of law, that is irrelevant. The Constitution gives primary authority for setting voting rules with the states.

    If Democrats don’t like the new rules, let them win elections and change them.




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  12. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes, which is why it is so stupid to set law as your only guideline in life. You would have made the same argument in favor of Jim Crow laws. State’s rights, the law is clear, so there, deal with it.

    Fortunately wiser heads than yours prevail so we no longer have “legal” segregated drinking fountains and restaurants.

    You cannot dismiss the real-world effect of laws, Doug, it’s superficial, amoral and destructive of civilization, all realities you should long-since have discovered. You cannot avoid moral culpability by crying “Law!” or by crying, “Corporation!” — as should have been clear when you rather carelessly condemned two senators for actions that you’d have shrugged off had they simply incorporated.

    Virtue is not a trivial part of a functioning democracy, it is essential. Morality is not opt-in, and there is no opt-out. We are still required to behave virtuously, and in a Democracy deliberately using the power of the majority to deny access to minority voters is morally contemptible no matter how you dress it up.




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  13. @michael reynolds:

    I am talking about the law because this is a Federal Court case and, well, the law is basically what matters in a courtroom.

    I may or may not agree that early voting is a good idea. I may or may not think that there were political motives behind the Ohio law changes. Those, however, are policy issues not legal issues and therefore my opinions on those matters don’t matter. They are also not something that a Federal Judge ought to be concerning himself or herself with in an effort to substitute their judgment for that of the elected representatives of the people.




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  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Federal judges are also not exempt from the obligations of morality and common decency. I’m sure you know the famous anecdote about Earl Warren discovering to his surprise that his black driver could not stay at his hotel and the effect that had on the Civil Rights cases that came to Warren later.

    In your world the job of a legislator is to reflect the wishes of his voters, the job of the courts is to enforce existing law, and the job of the Supremes is to determine whether those laws are constitutional. Of course legislators acting solely on orders from constituents will fill both the courts and the Supreme Court with men likely to defend the status quo. If you subtract virtue from the equation, you very quickly have crude rule by majority, which of course is self-perpetuating and deadly to democracy.

    The Founders would never have for a moment imagined a political philosophy that dismissed virtue – they’d all read their Plato, they knew better. Virtue in public men is essential. And they would be appalled at the notion that evil may be done so long as it is legal. You insist that blinders come with the juris doctor, but that is a position at odds with three millennia of moral philosophy and practical experience.

    Any system can be corrupted if operated by men devoid of virtue.




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  15. @michael reynolds:

    Judge cannot, and should not, substitute their personal morality for what the law is. That is not their purpose in our system when dealing with cases such as this.

    Economus crossed a line here, and it’s unlikely this decision with withstand appeal. The fact that you may not like the ultimate outcome is not relevant. The law is the law. If you don’t like it, change it.




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  16. michael reynolds says:

    For those who may be wondering how to define virtue, start with the Platonic list: Temperance, Prudence, Courage and Justice.

    These are at sharp odds with the Randian virtues: Reason, Purpose and Self-Esteem, which boiled down amount to the collapsed consciousness of simple narcissism. This is why Objectivism and Libertarianism are a childhood disease usually outgrown by one’s mid-20’s when the male brain begins to develop a moral sense.




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  17. michael reynolds says:

    The law is the law. Good grief, don’t be ridiculous. The law is whatever it’s interpreted to be by men with motives and ideologies and moods and passions and the whole list of human attributes.

    And of course under your philosophy judges have no obligation to interpret the law fairly or justly – there is no Randian virtue of honesty, fairness or justice, just self-service. Right? I mean, make the Objectivist case for a judge deciding fairly. Can’t be done without recourse to some larger structure of virtue.

    The Nuremburg Laws were duly passed by the legitimate government of Nazi Germany. Right? Ditto the Jim Crow laws in the US. Right? So from your point of view the judges enforcing a law that sent Jews to gas chambers, just like a law that deprived blacks of any protection, were acting correctly. Right?

    Your position leads inevitably to the conclusion that judges must commit the foulest of deeds so long as a foul law is in place. You know we hanged people for that, right?




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  18. An Interested Party says:

    There is no evidence, none at all, that early voting actually increases turnout.

    There is also no evidence that there is any kind of substantial voter fraud going on and yet we have all these Republican-dominated states passing voter ID laws…fancy that…

    They are also not something that a Federal Judge ought to be concerning himself or herself with in an effort to substitute their judgment for that of the elected representatives of the people.

    Ahhh the segregationist, er, classical argument that judges should just mind their own business and let politicians do whatever they want…after all, these politicians were elected to impede voting, er, carry out the will of the people…




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  19. R.Dave says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I may or may not agree that early voting is a good idea. I may or may not think that there were political motives behind the Ohio law changes. Those, however, are policy issues not legal issues and therefore my opinions on those matters don’t matter. They are also not something that a Federal Judge ought to be concerning himself or herself with in an effort to substitute their judgment for that of the elected representatives of the people.

    The motivation behind enactment of a law absolutely can and does impact the legal analysis, Doug. If the legislature adopts a law that appears neutral on its face but is revealed by legislative history to have been deliberately intended to harm a minority group…boom…unconstitutional as a violation of Equal Protection. And if that law also impacts a fundamental right, that’s a double whammy.




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  20. rudderpedals says:

    What’s to be appealed? Winning on the prelim injunction required proving the likelihood of prevailing on the merits coupled with irreversible harm if the conduct isn’t enjoined. What gets your interlocutory before the CA while this thing awaits trial?




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  21. jd says:

    @Doug Mataconis: There is no evidence, none at all, that early voting actually increases turnout.

    “What we’re seeing in Florida (due to the state’s dual election system), is that having early voting spread over two weeks appears to give a wider range of voters more opportunities to turn out to vote. When faced with fewer days and shortened hours of early voting, registered voters who have become habituated to vote early may decide to stay home.”

    That’s from Prof. Dan Smith, mentioned in the article. I was lucky to be at a Senate committee hearing here in Florida when Prof. Smith presented his results to the panel. He deals in actual facts.




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  22. PAUL HOOSON says:

    What I find troubling is the notion of attempting to discourage and disenfranchise minority voters using what appears to be racist politics. The Republican Party used to be the party of Abraham Lincoln who was motivated to run for office to eliminate slavery and during reconstruction, many Blacks ran for offices in the South and were elected. Now, it seems that some Republicans have turned their backs on African Americans and instead of seeking their votes, instead try to put blockages in the way of their voting. – This judge was right to strike down what appeared to not be a minor tweak in election laws, but a wholesale attempt to discourage minority voting where it appears some civil rights violations were a clear intent of this legislation.




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  23. Ron Beasley says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Doug, I agree with other commentators, This is BS. The federal courts have every right to intercede when peoples constitutional rights are violated.




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  24. Tony W says:

    @Gustopher:

    The constitution also requires that all citizens have equal access to the polls, through the 14th Amendment.

    Well, it’s more like the 15th and 19th – but I’ve never understood why those two were even required given the sweeping text of the 14th. So there.




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  25. Another Mike says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Economus crossed a line here, and it’s unlikely this decision with withstand appeal.

    I think you are right. It is about time that the courts throw out the concepts of disproportionate impact and disparate impact as mere inventions. Unless a law was crafted to discriminate against some group based upon a substantive characteristic of one group not shared by other groups, there is nothing there for the law to concern itself with.

    If reducing early voting from 35 to 28 days “disenfranchises” black voters, it also “disenfranchises” all voters. What substantive characteristic is it that says 35 days is required for blacks, but 28 days is enough for all others?

    This kind of social engineering by the courts in areas which are not the courts’ concern is very destructive. It creates the notion that blacks are special needs and suggests that blacks cannot be expected to do things in the same time frame as other groups. Blacks just cannot do anything as well as other groups and always need special consideration. Of course this is nonsense, but by the whole system pretending it is real, it creates a group who will always think that it needs a crutch and special assistance.




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  26. An Interested Party says:

    This kind of social engineering by the courts in areas which are not the courts’ concern is very destructive. It creates the notion that blacks are special needs and suggests that blacks cannot be expected to do things in the same time frame as other groups. Blacks just cannot do anything as well as other groups and always need special consideration. Of course this is nonsense, but by the whole system pretending it is real, it creates a group who will always think that it needs a crutch and special assistance.

    And thank you for that crock of $hit…the fact of the matter is that making it easier for people to vote is a good thing and far from the ominous “social engineering” you characterize it to be…also, to make it easier for people to vote has nothing to do with your notion of creating “special needs” groups…better arguments please…




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  27. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    As a matter of law, that is irrelevant.

    No, it’s not. What a stupid and ignorant thing to write. It’s insane to pretend that judges, as in interpreter of what the law means, are not allowed to take note of reality.




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  28. ratufa says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    There is no evidence, none at all, that early voting actually increases turnout.

    Really?

    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/article/2014/mar/19/battle-over-early-voting-access-how-many-votes-are/

    At best, you can say that the evidence in inconclusive or that the effect of early voting on turnout depends on the circumstances. That’s a lot different than “none at all”.




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  29. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: Doug is making a traditionalist argument: interpretation of law should reflect the views of those who made them. Who made those laws? Well, society’s elites did; whether those laws were in line with the will or consent of the governed is, of course, entirely immaterial. So in that sense Doug’s position is consistent with right-libertarian thinking on the subject, that society must be governed by the enlightened few rather than the mob who are motivated only by their base instincts and lusts.

    It’s a line of thinking that, logically, makes preservation of power and privilege the sole purpose of law and reduces humans to slaves of the state, with no moral agency permitted. All that matters is who’s got the gun and the whip.




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  30. Yolo Contendere says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    If Democrats don’t like the new rules, let them win elections and change them.

    Yes, if you’re being disenfranchised, the only answer of course is to win elections. If when in control Republicans gerrymander districts, enact onerous burdens in the name of stopping non-existent problems, reduce turnout of those that oppose them, and go back to putting crappy equipment in insufficient numbers at polling stations that tend to have Democratic constituencies resulting in multi-HOUR wait times, the response is simple. Win elections. If only those disenfranchised voters would vote in sufficient numbers, their problems would be solved. Would you also suggest they stop hitting themselves?




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  31. Yolo Contendere says:

    @Ben Wolf: Speaking of slaves, what was up with slavery in this country anyway? Didn’t those slaves know if they didn’t like the laws pertaining to slavery, they just needed to win elections to change them?




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  32. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    As a matter of law, that is irrelevant. The Constitution gives primary authority for setting voting rules with the states.

    Doug in 1954, pre Brown v. Board of Education: As a matter of law, that is irrelevant. The Constitution gives primary authority for setting education rules with the states.

    Doug in 1969, pre-Loving v. Virginia: As a matter of law, that is irrelevant. The Constitution gives primary authority for setting inter-racial marriage rules with the states.

    Doug in 2013, pre Windsor: As a matter of law, that is irrelevant. The Constitution gives primary authority for setting marriage equality rules with the states.

    Fact: state rules don’t trump federal constitutional requirements.




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  33. jukeboxgrad says:

    Michael:

    The Democrats want more people to vote, the Republicans want fewer people to vote

    Conservatives hate democracy. They like it better when fewer people vote:

    Many of our Christians have what I call the “goo goo” syndrome. Good Government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.

    Paul Weyrich, major conservative thinker, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation. Link, link.

    My apologies to those who have seen this before. I have posted this here several times.




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  34. Jack says:

    Good God, people. Ohio wanted to reduce from 35 to 28 the number of days to vote! They weren’t trying to disenfranchise anyone! If that is the case then NY must be disenfranchising everyone as NY has no early voting!

    This is more than a month of voting. Why not 60 days? How about 90 days? How about a whole year? If you can’t drag your sorry butt off of the couch during that 28 period to vote, then maybe you shouldn’t vote!




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  35. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The Constitution gives primary authority for setting voting rules with the states.

    Primary…but not exclusive. In case of a conflict, federal law trumps state law.

    Which Doug well knows, but dishonestly pretends not to here so he can advance his political agenda.




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  36. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I may or may not agree that early voting is a good idea. I may or may not think that there were political motives behind the Ohio law changes. Those, however, are policy issues not legal issues and therefore my opinions on those matters don’t matter.

    II may or may not agree that interracial marriage is a good idea. I may or may not think that there were political motives behind the Virginia law banning interracial marriage. Those, however, are policy issues not legal issues and therefore my opinions on those matters don’t matter….




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  37. Stan says:

    In Reynolds vs. Sims (1964) the Supreme Court decided that state legislators were required to establish congressional districts roughly equal in population. Is this also a bad decision? It seems that Doug’s logic would say it was, since “The Constitution gives primary authority for setting voting rules with the states.” Any comments, Doug?




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  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    And they call it liberty.

    In their defense, I suspect most libertarians haven’t followed the chain of logic that far forward. They’re not people who think much beyond, “I want.” Or maybe I’m just hoping that Doug is just an immature thinker not actually a jerk.




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  39. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    Doug, you”re going to need to tone your thing on this issue down some. You are getting dangerously close to creating unfair competition for me as the ignorant cracker. How am I supposed to compete with stuff like what you’re spouting?




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  40. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: My experience is probably incomplete and my view is definitely jaundiced, but my experience with Libertarians up in Washington State was that they tended to be people who believed–from the early 90s–that conservatism wasn’t conservative enough. I’m not sure that I can go with your “chain of logic’ argument here–they may actually be jerks.




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  41. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.
    I am quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Best
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  42. Tyrell says:

    The issue of the expense involved with extra polling days was mentioned. You have the rental fee, which is paid to places like churches to help offset utility and clean up costs. And you have to pay the polling workers. From what I know, the pay has not been increased in several years in our state. Some states had to cut budgets and this resulted in cutbacks to early voting days. So now we have this judge telling this state that they cannot reduce their days. You see what we have here? Another unfunded mandate! Of course this judge could offer to pay for it out of his pocket.
    From the experience around here turnout has not been great on the early voting days, you had more people there handing out campaign material than voters.
    We have seen it before and will see it again: activist judges exceeding their authority, and in this case ignoring the constitution.




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  43. Keith says:

    So what is the best way to maximize voter turnout? I would suggest a vote by mail option mentioned above, making election day a Federal holiday, and robust early voting options.




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  44. Barry says:

    Doug, I don’t know who Rick is, but Adler has clearly shown himself to be a partisan hack, whore and liar. Quote trustworthy people, please.




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  45. Another Mike says:

    @An Interested Party:

    better arguments please…

    It isn’t I who maintains that certain groups need special help because they are not as capable as other groups. It is the court that says that reducing the early voting period creates unlawful barriers to the polls for minorities and the poor and disproportionately harms the poor and members of minority groups. There is something about these groups that prevents them from conforming to the same standard as other groups and therefore must be given special assistance. And the task they need special help with is as simple as walking into a building and casting a ballot. I do not accept the idea that there is something inferior about these groups that makes them special needs cases. The court accepts that there is something inferior about these groups, and that is the basis for its involvement in setting early voting period days.




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  46. LaMont says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    If Democrats don’t like the new rules, let them win elections and change them.

    Really Doug? This is one, if not THE, most asinine statements from you I have ever read. It is statements like these that make me wonder if you are for real or simply trying to excite the commenters. I certainly hope it is the latter but that’s also not good because that’s troll status. It would not be cool to realize that your character could have easily fit-in with the character of those some 60 years ago during the existence of Jim Crow laws. It shouldn’t take much to understand that this line of reasoning was and still is on the wrong side of history.




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  47. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    There is no evidence, none at all, that early voting actually increases turnout

    WRONG.

    Florida reduced early voting days before the 2012 presidential election, a move that drew intense criticism when long lines in November marred voting there. In the aftermath, Republican Gov. Rick Scott reversed course and signed legislation restoring the old process.

    Did the change in 2012 deflate turnout?

    There’s evidence it did, at least among African-American voters who had flocked in 2008 to vote early on the final Sunday before the election, often as part of “souls to the polls” vote drives, said University of Florida political scientist Daniel Smith, who studied the elections with Dartmouth College’s Michael Herron.

    But there’s strong anecdotal evidence from election officials that early voting can significantly hike overall turnout in local contests, said Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University who produced a report on early voting to Congress.

    In McDonald’s view, partisan advantage from expanding or restricting early voting is not necessarily true, because some of those using it are convenience seekers and not very partisan

    Before 2012, Wisconsin allowed in-person absentee voting over about three weeks, three weekends and the Monday prior to the election, noted City of Milwaukee Election Commission Neil Albrecht.

    As noted, the Legislature and Walker compressed that schedule in 2011.

    That didn’t reduce early voting turnout in Milwaukee, which rose from about 32,500 in 2008 to 36,500 in 2012, but Albrecht says the cutback in days held the increase down and caused those long lines.

    “The working poor, single parents, students, people with disabilities, or anyone else that might have an Election Day schedule conflict or concern about limited physical access to their voting site” are among those who seek out the opportunity to vote early, Albrecht said.

    In light of this, Doug, does this chage your mind?

    BTW, if early voting has no effect on turnout, why do the Republicans ALWAYS try to reduce or abolish early voting?




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  48. Tyrell says:

    Then who is to say how much early voting is enough? 35 days, 53 days ? And how about the extra expense that the states (taxpayers) will have to pay for: rental fees to pay use of facilities and extra costs of paying poll workers for more hours. Or is that judge going to pay for it out of his own pocket ? What will he require next : that restrooms be open to voters? Free babysitting service for voters? Free transportation? Umbrellas?
    As was pointed out, there are many areas that do not offer any early voting. Is that inherently unfair?
    We have had Saturday voting here. Turnout was okay, but a lot of people said that they would not give up their Saturdays to stand in line and vote.
    One solution mentioned would be to offer early voting by mail. But I think you can already do that.
    I guess then this judge would require the state to supply the stamp.




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  49. Tony W says:

    Bottom line: If your side benefits from fewer people voting, then your side is wrong.




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  50. Louis DePasquale says:

    I’m sorry but this doesn’t even pass the laugh test. What most of you are saying is that the evil republicans are trying to stop minorities from voting by restricting voting to 28 days. Are you guys serious. If you can’t manage to find time to vote over the course of 28 days is voting really important to you? Let’s get real here.




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  51. Rafer Janders says:

    @Another Mike:

    There is something about these groups that prevents them from conforming to the same standard as other groups and therefore must be given special assistance. And the task they need special help with is as simple as walking into a building and casting a ballot.

    Hmmm, what could it be about the poor, who as a group (a) lack access to reliable transportation, (b) hold hourly wage jobs with inconsistent and ever-changing schedules that do not offer paid time off, (c) live paycheck to paycheck so that they can’t afford to lose pay or be fired, (d) don’t have reliable daycare for their young children,and (e) are in poorer health than the non-poor, that could hinder them from getting to the polls on a workday? What could it possibly be?!?!

    It’s a headscratcher, that’s for sure….




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  52. Louis DePasquale says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I’m sorry Rafer I just don’t buy it. The new rules still provide 28 days in which to vote. Both parties in every state have volunteers who will drive people to their polling place. I don’t have a car and rely on public transportation and manage to vote in every election. I have on more than one occasion called the party and they have provided me with a ride to and from the polls.




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  53. Just Me says:

    Gotta agree-I don’t see a big difference between 35 days and 28 days.

    And I think when you still have a month of early voting costs can be a factor absent from any desire to keep people from voting. If the poor can’t find their way to the polls in 28 days then the problem isn’t with the law.

    I like the idea of Weekend voting days. I like the idea of early voting but I also think a couple of weeks would suffice for people to make time to vote.

    I also think with fraud it isn’t a problem for IDs or number of days to vote but more in cleaning up voter rolls and crosschecking voter registrations between states (seems like people like to vote in two places usually snowbirds and the like and this is illegal).




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  54. Blue Galangal says:

    @Just Me: The difference is that the new rules “turned off” the Sunday voting but left in place the Saturday voting. A more equitable decision would have left in place, say, 2 Saturdays and 2 Sundays. But all the Sundays were removed under the aegis of “cost savings” but in reality because of the traditional GOTV efforts of black churches that made an effort to bus their congregants to the polling place on Sunday. If low income/minority voters have jobs, they are likely to be in the service industry and Sunday mornings are likely to be one of the few reliable times they can count on to have time off.

    The early voting question has been rendered even more complicated in some parts of the state. In Cincinnati, for example, the majority Republican BOE (3 Republicans, 2 Democrats) approved a proposal to move the early voting location from downtown Cincinnati, easily accessible by many bus lines and with a concentration of lower income and/or minority residents, to a rural mostly-white neighbourhood on the west side that is accessible, from downtown, by a 2 1/2 hour bus ride with 2 transfers – on weekdays. Compound closing the early voting down on Sunday, when someone might possibly have the time to spend the day on the bus to go vote, and there seems to be an element of disenfranchisement in these ostensibly cost-saving proposals that probably had an impact on the judge’s decision.




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  55. nightrider says:

    I wonder if we wouldn’t do better if we picked 12 registered voters at random like a jury and tasked them to be locked in a room until they could unanimously agree on voting rules and election district lines. Leaving these decisions to politicians of any party for their manipulation and attempted self-preservation may have even more downsides than the jury system.




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  56. stonetools says:

    @Just Me:

    Judge Economus’s ruling directed Ohio to restore early voting during evenings and on at least two Sundays, and to reinstate Golden Week, the first week of early voting in which many African-American churches organize congregants to register and vote on the same day. Mr. Kasich and his supporters have said the measures were needed to reduce fraud, save money and create uniformity of practice across the state, and that the four-week early voting period allowed sufficient time for people to cast ballots.

    This is a preliminary injunction. If indeed the state can prove at a full hearing the reduction in early voting won’t have ill effects, then the state wins. But I think it’s right that the judge isn’t taking the Republican governor’s word that it won’t hurt minority voters’ turnout.




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  57. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    WOW. About the nicest thing one can say is at least Mr. Mataconis had the sense to stop digging himself any deeper. We’ll have to take that for Today’s Virtuous Act.




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  58. C. Clavin says:

    It’s pretty clear from the stats in Doug’s post that minorities benefit from and take advantage of early voting…Republicans tried to limit that for obvious reasons.
    As a blanket statement; increasing voter participation, good – limiting voter participation, bad.
    For some reason Doug wants to limit voter participation.
    Oh, that’s right…he votes Republican.




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  59. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Republicans also want to limit people’s access to basic health care. Go figure.




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  60. gVOR08 says:

    @Just Me:

    (seems like people like to vote in two places usually snowbirds and the like and this is illegal)

    It is illegal, it apparently does happen at some appreciable rate, and I have yet to hear the first Republican complaint about it, much less proposal for action. In fact we received our unsolicited Ohio absentee ballots last week. The State of Ohio encourages absentee voting. Why might that be? Is there some difference in voting patterns (real or perceived) between poor people and people who own or rent two homes that might explain the difference in attitude? Another head scratcher, isn’t it.




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  61. Louis DePasquale says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Ohio under Republican leadership is providing 28 days of early voting how does that limit voter participation?




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  62. C. Clavin says:

    @Louis DePasquale:
    How is 28 days less than 35 days? How is 4 weeks less than 5 weeks? How is 20% less, less?




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  63. Louis DePasquale says:

    @gVOR08:

    Yes the state of Ohio like most states Republican and Democrat alike encourage absentee ballots They are a convent way for our military members, the disabled, and those who can’t make it to the polls to have their votes counted. It has nothing to do with being rich or poor they increase voter participation.




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  64. Louis DePasquale says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Obviously 28 days is less than 35….I am so happy you are capable of basic math. I have never suggested that they weren’t decreasing the number of days. I simply said and still believe that 28 days is sufficient for everyone who wants to vote to do so. I live in Va we have 1 day of voting on election day and manage quite well.




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  65. gVOR08 says:

    @Louis DePasquale: So increased participation is a good thing? Yet Republicans consistently fight increased hours to increase participation and encourage absentee ballots. But I’m sure their motives are pure;-)




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  66. C. Clavin says:

    @Louis DePasquale:
    Perhaps you should become more familiar with your state…45 days is more than 35.
    The list of reasons for voting early is pretty wide in scope.

    Virginia offers in-person absentee voting. Starting 45 days before the election and ending at 5:00 pm on November 2, 2013, a voter may apply for an absentee ballot in-person at the registrar’s office and apply for an absentee ballot per the above parameters, and vote in-person at the office.

    http://www.866ourvote.org/state/va




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  67. C. Clavin says:

    @Louis DePasquale:

    I simply said and still believe that 28 days is sufficient for everyone who wants to vote to do so.

    That’s your judgement.
    The Judge thought differently.
    If you expand voting to 35 days, subsequently reducing it to 28 days is…obviously…a reduction.
    If the law had been 28 days…then you would think 21 days would be fine.
    It’s pretty clear that all of these efforts are Republican driven, and that is for a very simple reason.




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  68. gVOR08 says:

    One should note that Dems are just as cynical when they try to extend hours for voting. They are trying to encourage Dem turnout for their own selfish ends. However, encouraging voting is a good thing, suppressing voting is a bad thing. That’s the beauty of being liberal. You can do well by doing good.




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  69. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    If Democrats don’t like the new rules, let them win elections and change them.

    Well, that’s kind of the point here, isn’t it? Republicans are writing voter suppression laws that (they hope) will make it far more difficult for Democrats to win elections.




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  70. Mikey says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    churches that made an effort to bus their congregants to the polling place on Sunday

    Entirely separate from the early voting issue: churches are tax-exempt, why are they allowed to engage in political action like this?

    Is there some exemption of which I’m not aware? I’m honestly curious.




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  71. C. Clavin says:

    @al-Ameda:
    Forest, meet trees.




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  72. LaMont says:

    @Mikey:

    churches are tax-exempt, why are they allowed to engage in political action like this?

    Encouraging people to vote has nothing to do with the church being exempt from taxes. Voting itself is not a political act the way you suggest as no one is pressuring church goers to vote for a particular candidate or party.

    There are, however, opinions that are shared in the church that may not be favorable to the GOP in the areas the GOP is trying to restrict voting access. But that carries no basis for changing the church’s tax exempt status.




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  73. Mikey says:

    @LaMont:

    no one is pressuring church goers to vote for a particular candidate or party

    It seems that’s the key–a charitable organization can get people to the polls as long as there’s no pressure to vote for any given candidate.

    I was just wondering, thanks for answering.




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  74. C. Clavin says:

    OT…but so full of awesomeness.
    Dick Cheney will meet with House Republicans Tuesday morning.
    Does the senile old coot realize he’s no longer in office?
    Some people just don’t know when to go away.




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  75. aFloridian says:

    One of the reasons Doug is on the other side of this from Michael Reynolds and the rest of you is his legal education. Having had a legal education myself, I am convinced of two things, one well talked about, the other not so much.

    First, and most frequently discussed, the legal education system from the 1960s up to today has been oriented toward “neutral” law that is colorblind and client-centric and that teaches lawyers that their own sense of morality and justice have no place in the justice system. The law is the law is the law, and everyone is entitled to a spirited performance from one’s lawyer, even if the lawyer recognizes the injustice of his position.

    Some have traced this change in the legal system to the integration of the legal profession in the 1960s. Before that, lawyers were akin (literally) to the landed gentry. It was a gentleman’s profession largely reserved to what the Yankees call “WASPs” and what we Southerners might deem an early form of good ol’ boys. And maybe some “Jew Lawyers” representing the immigrant communities of the north.

    With the Civil Rights movement, legal ethics had to be adjusted from the old norms formed during the gentleman’s club days, and the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility were drafted. This was so because suddenly the boys’ club was invaded by women and minorities, and the powers that were felt that the old, paternalistic rules were no longer appropriate. It is arguably this document which created, in the minds of most modern lawyers, their duty to put aside all sense of personal morality in single-minded pursuit of the client’s stated interest. It’s like the legal profession’s equivalent of the mantra that the corporation’s sole duty is to sacrifice all at the altar of profit on behalf of its shareholders.

    As a legal issue, we are debating whether Ohio’s changes ought to be reviewed under strict scrutiny or rational basis. As a matter of law, I think Doug might very well be right. Is a handful of days in an already long voting period really a big deal? Is there a reason it is easier for minorities to vote that week than the other 28 early days? I don’t see why. But I also recognize a disturbing to try to influence a vote through keeping away unfavorable voters.

    At the same time, Doug’s inability or unwillingness to recognize that this change might/is a real problem for real people suggests to me that he either (1) is not bothered by this issue because it doesn’t restrict his right to vote, actually helps his favored party, and thus doesn’t see it as an issue at all (I’ve noticed his trend toward willful blindness in this regard) or (2) he really is that legalistic (a problem I have found common amongst my profession, unsurprisingly) and is unable to see that justice is bigger than the letter of the law.




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  76. Tony W says:

    @LaMont: There are also many, many “Christian” churches that actively preach wealth and power, and hate on anything remotely liberal (despite the very liberal teachings of their hero Jesus). In the course of my many personal experiences with these palaces and their sovereigns, they do not stop short of active political advocacy (nearly always for the political Right) during services. They happily claim the IRS tax exemptions, however, which helps build some great cathedrals (sadly since lost to the Catholics).

    My guess is that is likely why you don’t see the Republicans up in arms over simply bussing people to the polls to exercise their rights. They don’t want to go there.




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  77. Tony W says:

    @aFloridian: Strict Scrutiny should, in my opinion, always be the basis when civil rights are involved. And that includes gun laws. And free speech – even that with which I disagree.

    Of course, even that can’t be black-and-white. If 35 days is better, then 42 is better yet! It’s the cynical removal of Sundays, for example, that should come under scrutiny.




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  78. Grewgills says:

    All of the commenters that are dismissing this as just a 35 days vs 28 days change are missing the larger point. That was not the only change. Evening and weekend voting was also cut. If you can’t see how cutting weekend and evening voting would effect the ability of poorer people to vote you are either willfully ignorant or not paying attention. This change was clearly aimed at suppressing poor and minority votes and so should come under strict scrutiny.




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  79. aFloridian says:

    Grewgills:

    If you can’t see how cutting weekend and evening voting would effect the ability of poorer people to vote you are either willfully ignorant or not paying attention. This change was clearly aimed at suppressing poor and minority votes and so should come under strict scrutiny.

    Let me be clear, for my part. I really don’t think that cutting a few days is a very big deal, given how many days they still have for early voting. Doing things like cutting Sundays is definitely a devious move. And yes, the whole thing is pretty obviously an effort to reduce minority turn-out. As Dr. Taylor pointed out recently, low black turnout in primary and odd-year elections is very low, and can have a huge impact on the make-up of local government, like in Ferguson, MO. Obviously Republicans realize that suppressing turnout in other elections will likewise benefit th party.

    For that reason, I think there is a strong argument here for strict scrutiny. I think you could also argue rational basis given that no one is being denied from voting by the period being cut by a week. That said, I’m interested to see how it comes out. I understand Doug’s concern about precedent-setting here, but I share the rest of your concerns about these actions meant to disenfranchise voters.




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  80. Lenoxus says:

    Everyone talking about “28 days vs 35 days” has been confusing the issue. It’s not like they merely trimmed out the first week in circumstances where all weeks are equal. In terms of the electoral calendar, this looks to be the difference between having combined registration/voting and not having it.

    Plus, the absence of (certain?) Sundays makes a big difference as well. Consider: a state could pass a law increasing voting from 11 hours to a “full week” yet severely disenfranchise people — if the nature of the increase was that the voting period would last for six straight months, but limited to one hour a day. (Obviously that’s an extreme example.)




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  81. rudderpedals says:

    @aFloridian: You make the MRPC sound like some document out of Cuban jurisprudence where defense counsel lacks a duty to his client. There, it’s said counsel works with the prosecution in a setting designed to effect Cuban national interests, interests of the client be da*ned.

    I can’t think of a US common law jurisdiction (Im not talking about you, LA) where an attorney lacks a duty to counsel his client on ethical, cultural, business, and moral concerns, along with the legal stuff.




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  82. Bob @ Youngstown says:

    @Tyrell:

    You have the rental fee, which is paid to places like churches to help offset utility and clean up costs. And you have to pay the polling workers…

    I can’t speak for any other counties in Ohio, however in my county the early voting is conducted at the Board of Elections office, unlike the conventional precinct polling place. Therefore no rental fees, utility and clean up costs.
    BOE employees (not conventional poll workers) are certainly paid their wages, but that appears to be the only obvious addition cost.




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  83. Tyrell says:

    @Tony W: Sunday voting would never go over around here. I see some good things about being able to vote on a Sunday. One problem would be that most voting places here are churches, so Sunday voting would be hard to arrange. In our town most people would be opposed to voting on a Sunday.




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  84. Mikey says:

    @Mikey: OK, five thumbs down for my rather simple question. WTF? Why?




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  85. Yolo Contendere says:

    @Tony W: All your cathedral are belong to us.




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  86. Yolo Contendere says:

    @Mikey: Probably they read your comment as making a value judgement under the guise of a question. It’s easy to read “political” and think “partisan”, particularly if you’re on a hair-trigger to jump on anyone who espouses a view different than yours.




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  87. rudderpedals says:

    @Mikey: It seems to me for every souls-to-the-polls event there’s a house of worship with voting guides inside or nearby and a cleric saying something like “I can’t tell you who to vote for BUT…….”. It would be best if religion were divorced (forcibly even) from secular government but that’s kinda radical given custom and culture….

    Downvotes: I don’t give them except for spammers and st*rmfront escapees. Don’t look at the ones I get. Please ignore any that you get. What’s the point of a downvote? To suppress some disagreeable comment? So don’t be a fan. Better to read and confront the thing that offends or just don’t upvote it, lest the people and ideas go off elsewhere.




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  88. jukeboxgrad says:

    Mikey, what Yolo said. What I have seen of your history here indicates that you are a sincere person and you ask sincere questions. So I understood your question was sincere. But someone who didn’t know your history might be more cynical.




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  89. bill says:

    i always have a hard time wondering why it’s difficult for “minorities” to vote. now we’re in ohio, not known as some kkk hq or anything but apparently it’s hard for people to vote there now? now shift to the wonderful liberal state of ny, where there’s NO early voting for anyone…. bear in mind that ny state is quite large and rural for the most part. it can be tough to vote in mild weather, when things get bad it’s nearly impossible to vote- but they do. go ahead, discuss.




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  90. jukeboxgrad says:

    when things get bad it’s nearly impossible to vote- but they do

    “They do?” Are you sure? New York State “has one of the worst voter turnout records in the country,” and early voting might help that, so of course Republicans are trying to prevent it. Link.




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  91. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey: I didn’t down vote, but I thought about it. It’s a question of whether your ignorant of, or deliberately ignoring, the rather considerable right wing partisan activity hosted by Catholic and fundie churches, as noted by others above. It’s not legal for either side, but nobody enforces.

    @Tyrell: See @Bob @ Youngstown: in reply to your earlier comment. Early voting typically is not conducted at the election day churches and schools.




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  92. Bob@youngstown says:

    @Tyrell:

    most voting places here are churches, so Sunday voting would be hard to arrange.

    After researching, the typical early voting location in Ohio is the county board of elections office, located at the county seat. The typical hours for early voting is 8 to 5 on weekdays and 1pm to 5pm on Sunday.

    I can appreciate the argument that folks that are working daily may not have the option to get to the polls on Election Day. For that reason I consider voting by mail to be a better option for all citizens to exercise their right to vote.




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  93. C. Clavin says:

    @bill:

    now shift to the wonderful liberal state of ny, where there’s NO early voting for anyone

    And NY is 44th in voter turnout. See how Republicanist ideology simply withers and dies when exposed to facts? It’s really fun to watch.




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  94. Blue Galangal says:

    @Mikey: In addition to the comments made above, I think African-American churches, in particular, have a strong affinity for the civil rights movement and helping to make sure their members have the opportunity to vote. In addition, they often have the infrastructure – in the form of church buses, that are already used to bus elderly, infirm, children, or those without transportation – to church in the first place. It makes sense to me to say, hey, wanna swing by the Board of Elections on your way home, since you’re already on the bus? It’s efficient (and kind of cute).

    They may or may not be telling members to vote for a certain party; but without applying political value judgments, a lot of them are committed to the ideal of democracy because they were involved so heavily in the battle for civil rights/against Jim Crow, and they are intimately aware of the barriers many of their members face in terms of sourcing housing, reliable transportation, and food.




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  95. LaMont says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    What you have captured is the very essence of Sunday voting in the black community. Maybe this will actually provide some perspective to Doug as to how ridiculous his “the law is the law” banter sounds…




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  96. bill says:

    @jukeboxgrad: the point is they don’t whine about it and try to drag up some “voter suppression” bs. voting in a very democrat state means you really don’t have much on the line as they typically win. but thanks for digging up some point to discuss!

    @C. Clavin: see above. it’s like “voting” in north kprea .




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  97. Mikey says:

    @Blue Galangal: See, now this is the answer I needed. Interesting, informative, even educational for this suburban white guy. Thank you for helping me see from a different perspective.

    And if the Republican efforts to eliminate Sunday early voting are meant to suppress what you’ve described, I can certainly see why the judge in this case rejected them. There is so much more at work than simply adding X days of voting.




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  98. Bob @ Youngstown says:

    @Mikey:

    There is so much more at work than simply adding X days of voting

    Yes indeed, of the 28 days for early voting, 26 (Monday thru Saturday) were pretty much useless to the working poor.




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