A federal judge issued a ruling overturning early voting restrictions in Ohio, handing a victory to President Obama’s campaign, which had argued that the restrictions disproportionately hurt Democrats.
Ohio, a prized swing state, allows voting in person to begin on October 2. But the state cut off early balloting on the Friday before Election Day, except for members of the military, saying that would prevent fraud and give election boards time to prepare for voting.
In granting a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Peter Economus wrote that lawyers for Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted failed to “articulate a precise compelling interest” in establishing a Friday deadline for non-military voters.
“On balance, the right of Ohio voters to vote in person during the last three days prior to Election Day — a right previously conferred to all voters by the state — outweighs the state’s interest in setting a 6 p.m. deadline,” Economus wrote.