Mitt Romney Completely Misrepresents Obama Lawsuit Over Ohio Early Voter Law
As I noted earlier today, the Obama campaign (along with other parties) have filed a lawsuit challenging a change in Ohio law that limits the length of early voting in Ohio for all voters except members of the military and their families. Not surprisingly, Mitt Romney is hitting Obama on the topic. Also, not surprisingly, he’s completely misrepresenting the lawsuit:
Mitt Romney lashed out Saturday against President Barack Obama’s campaign and Democratic allies, who sued Ohio requesting the state’s early voting law apply equally to all voters, rather than only to military personnel and citizens who reside overseas.
Romney issued a statement calling the lawsuit an “outrage,” and claimed the Democrats’ lawsuit argues “it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period.”
The Obama camp shot back against Romney’s argument:
Obama’s campaign blasted Romney for misreading the lawsuit.
“Mitt Romney and his campaign have completely fabricated a claim that the Obama campaign is trying to restrict military voting in Ohio,” said Rob Diamond, Obama’s veterans and military family vote director. “In fact, the opposite is true: The Obama campaign filed a lawsuit to make sure every Ohioan, including military members and their families, has early voting rights over the last weekend prior to the election.”
I wouldn’t call it misreading, I would call it misrepresenting. Because, all one has to do is look at the prayer for relief in the Complaint and, at the very end, one will find this:
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs request of this Court the following equitable relief:
A. An order declaring that lines 863 and 864 of Sec. 3509.03(I) in HB 224, which amended Ohio Revised Code § 3509.03 by changing the deadline for in-person early voting from the close of business on the day before Election Day to 6 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day, and the SB 295 enactment of Ohio Revised Code § 3509.03 with the HB 224 amendments, violate the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution;
B. A preliminary and permanent order prohibiting the Defendants, their respective agents, servants, employees, attorneys, successors, and all persons acting in concert with each or any of them, from implementing or enforcing lines 863 and 864 of Sec. 3509.03 (I) in HB 224, and/or the SB 295 enactment of Ohio Revised Code § 3509.03 with the HB 224 amendments, thereby restoring in-person early voting on the three days immediately preceding Election Day for all eligible Ohio voters
In others words, whatever you think of the lawsuit, the assertion that the Obama campaign is seeking to take voting rights away from members of the military is, quite simply, absurd. They are making the argument that there is no rational basis for giving in-state military voters a preference over any other Ohio voters and asking the court to restore the status quo ante under which all Ohio voters could vote early right up to the day before the election. And, so far, I think it’s pretty clear that they have the better legal argument.