Supreme Court Declines To Stay Orders Granting Early Voting For All Ohio Voters

Upholding decisions by an Ohio U.S. District Court Judge and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court today declined to grant Ohio’s request to stay an Order that required the state to allow all Ohio voters to vote early in the three days prior to November’s election:

(CNN) - The United States Supreme Court has given the green light to early voting in Ohio in the three days prior to November’s election.

The brief, one sentence order from the court Tuesday is a setback for Republican leaders in the state, who had asked the justices to step in and allow pending restrictions to take effect.
The law would have allowed only military members and their families to vote in person in the last three days before the Nov. 6 election- from Saturday to Monday.

But a federal appeals court in Cincinnati earlier this month concluded if county election boards were open for the early voting, then the polls had to allow all potential voters. A preliminary injunction is in effect preventing the restrictions from being enforced.

The Obama presidential campaign, along with Democratic supporters in Ohio, had successfully challenged the law.

Lyle Denniston has further details: 

The Ohio officials took the dispute on to the Supreme Court after the Sixth Circuit Court, based in Cincinnati, had upheld a District judge’s order requiring that all voters be treated equally for purposes of early voting.  The Circuit Court found that the impact of the final weekend closing would fall hardest on lower income and less educated individuals.  Giving military voters the sole opportunity to vote on those days, the Circuit Court concluded, was a form of discrimination because the state had not justified treating military voters more favorably than any other voters.

In the state’s plea to the Justices, officials asked that the lower court decision be put on hold — thus allowing the closing of those weekend days’ voting — until the Supreme Court could consider a planned appeal on the issue. As an alternative, the state’s officers asked the Justices to summarily overrule the lower court order, without further briefing or oral argument.   They had filed their application with Justice Elena Kagan, who acts on emergency matters for the Sixth Circuit, which includes Ohio.  Rather than acting on her own, Kagan referred the issue to the full Court, which issued the order Tuesday denying the stay application.

The Court’s ruling contains no discussion of the merits of the case but merely states the application for a stay is denied. It’s worth noting that this isn’t necessarily the end of the legal dispute in this matter. Ohio apparently still plans to appeal the underlying ruling to the Supreme Court, but that will require them to first request a Writ of Certiorari from the court. If the Court decides to accept the case for appeal, it will have to deal with both the legal issues raised by the revised Ohio law and the question of whether or not the remedy granted by the District Court and the Court of Appeals were appropriate. That, however, is a battle for another day. For now, the Obama campaign and the other Plaintiffs in this matter have scored their third straight victory in a row on this issue.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Law and the Courts, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Geek, Esq. says:

    This means that time has run out for the state of Ohio, correct?

  2. As far as anything dealing with this year’s election, there are no further appeals.

    The case will now proceed forward on the normal SCOTUS appeal track and, if accepted for appeal, may be heard by the end of the current term.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    had upheld a District judge’s order requiring that all voters be treated equally for purposes of early voting.

    But… but… but that’s un-American!!!

  4. rudderpedals says:

    Good news. I’d expected otherwise. I really need to season this hat before eating.

  5. ernieyeball says:

    Ya gotta’ figure Obama put the fix in for Justice Antonin Scalia’s parking tickets or this decision might have been for the State of Ohio…

  6. stonetools says:

    The Obama Administration has been on a roll against these voter suppression laws. Clearly, even the SCOTUS understands that these laws can’t survive constitutional scrutiny.