August 7th, 2012 By German Lopez | News | Posted In: News, 2012 Election, Republicans, President Obama

Republicans Wrong About Obama Lawsuit

Local state representative candidate Mike Wilson clarifies press release

mikewilsonHDMike Wilson
The campaign manager of Mike Wilson, the Republican candidate for state representative in Ohio’s 28th district, sent out a press release late afternoon Monday. Its headline read: “Wilson stands with military voters: Opposed Obama effort to attack military voting rights.”

The accusation localized a national issue that had been driven through networks all weekend. It started with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. On Saturday, after Romney was asked a question about a lawsuit President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party had filed against state officials to restore all early voting in Ohio, the Romney camp posted a statement on Romney’s Facebook page:
"President Obama's lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period is an outrage." The message went on to say Romney stands by the "fifteen military groups" opposing the lawsuit.

To be clear, the lawsuit Obama and the Democratic Party filed on July 17 is not meant to diminish or take away anyone’s voting rights. On the contrary, it is meant to give early voting rights to everyone, including military personnel. Right now, in-person early voting begins on Oct. 2, but it is cut off three days before Election Day for everyone except military personnel and their families, who keep the right to vote in-person on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day. If the lawsuit is successful, those three days of in-person early voting will be extended to the rest of Ohio’s voting population.

So any accusation that Obama and the Democrats are trying to take away or attack anyone’s voting rights is false.

But that has not deterred Republicans from using the attack. They used it in press releases and statements all day Monday. The Wilson campaign invoked the attack in its own press release when it said it opposed the “Obama effort to attack military voting rights.” But Wilson’s opposition is a bit more nuanced than the political spin Republicans have wrongfully put on Obama’s lawsuit.

“I think there are a few potential outcomes out of the lawsuit: One is the three days are extended to everyone, another is the court strikes down the three days altogether,” Wilson says.

Wilson is worried a court could agree with the premise of the lawsuit — that it is unconstitutional to give one group of people, meaning military personnel, extra voting rights — but not the goal of the lawsuit: that all in-person early voting rights should be extended to all Ohio citizens. The result of that ruling could be the repeal of the three extra in-person voting days. That would ensure everyone’s rights are treated equally because then no one would have the extra right of voting in-person one, two or three days early.

However, this outcome is not desirable by the Obama team or the Democrats. On the contrary, Ohio Democrats have repeatedly pushed for legislation that restores early voting rights Republican legislators did away with in H.B. 194 and H.B. 224 in 2011. Before those two laws, Ohio allowed everyone to vote in-person a full five weeks before Election Day. So if Obama and the Democrats had their way, this lawsuit would not be necessary because all in-person early voting days would still be available to all Ohio voters, just like they were in 2008 and 2010.

If the Obama lawsuit reaches its goal and voting rights are extended to all citizens, Wilson still has some concerns. Under that scenario, Wilson is worried military personnel would have longer lines when they go out to vote, which he says would be harder on military personnel that have restrictions on travel and free time due to their jobs.

But those restrictions on travel and free time are why absentee ballots exist in the first place, and absentee ballots would be unaffected by the Obama lawsuit. Absentee ballots allow voters — traditionally military voters — to mail in ballots without showing up to a polling station. Military personnel can start mailing in absentee ballots starting on Oct. 2, regardless of the lawsuit.

The two scenarios Wilson presented are similar to the reasons given by military organizations for opposing the lawsuit.

Even if either scenario came true, all Ohioans — including military personnel — will still be able to vote early starting Oct. 2. The lawsuit only deals with in-person voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day.

08.07.2012 at 07:05 Reply

This lawsuit being brought against the state of Ohio is a setback for Military Voting Rights. Veterans and active duty military have been fighting to make it easy for active duty military to have greater access for voting due to various hardships placed on them while serving including availability of time due to deployment, receiving temporary orders, 24 hour base alert status, etc. Ohio has reached out to the military with its Military Ready to Vote Program making it easier for active military to register to vote, receive absentee ballots, as well as vote in person when possible. Ohio legislators also voted to provide an additional 3 days of early voting to make it easier for them to vote even while county poll workers are busy setting up and testing machines statewide for the Tuesday National election and counting.



Ohio leads the way in making it easy for anyone to vote. Lets compare Ohio to neighboring state Michigan



Ohio: Early voting begin for any registered Ohio voter September 28

Ohio: Early voting ends Nov 2. with the exception of military, which is extended for 3 additional days.

Ohio: Polls open election day Nov. 6 from 6:30 AM to 7:30PM

Ohio: Absentee Ballots restriction. Any registered voter can request an absentee ballot. No reason required.



Michigan: There is no early voting for anyone.

Michigan: Polls open election day Nov. 6 from 7:00AM to 8:00PM

Michigan: Absentee ballots -- As a registered voter, you may obtain an absentee voter ballot ONLY if you are: age 60 years old or older unable to vote without assistance at the polls expecting to be out of town on election day in jail awaiting arraignment or trial unable to attend the polls due to religious reasons appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.



In Ohio, it is easier for every registered voter to vote. Easier than most states. Basically, the lawsuit is saying that military are not entitled to have an additional 3 days to vote in Ohio. Please stand with other  military and veterans organizations and oppose this lawsuit. If the President should stand up as Commander-in-Chief and tell his campaign that this suit should be dropped and that he stands with the troops and that he is truly Commander-in-Chief.


08.07.2012 at 09:56

Harry, you obviously did not read the article and only listened to the political attack ads. The goal is to restore those 3 days for EVERYONE.


08.07.2012 at 10:06 Reply

There's no reason for ANYONE in any state having any reason to vote extended EXCEPT military!  Being wife of a retired military who spent time overseas those days of not being available due to Orders, Duty, etc.... means that you must vote absentee and when you are in a remote area, you must vote absentee.  However being back in civilian life, there is no excuse not to go stand in line and vote when it's time.  No employer can deny you by law, there is no excuse!  If you are going to be out of town, then vote absentee but your limited to the days provided.  BE ACTIVE DUTY PERSONNEL SERVING OUR NATION and then you can have that right to extra days!



08.09.2012 at 10:03

With 330 million Americans, there are any number of circumstances that can impare someone's ablility to vote. All citizens, not just military, should have the same simplicity to vote and absentee ballots are not always viable for all scenarios.


08.07.2012 at 10:11 Reply

No Mike, you didn't pay attention, it says for OHIO, not everyone!




09.02.2012 at 06:11 Reply

The point of the suit was to restore early voting for ALL Ohio citizens -- as it's been for a number of years recently. When then-Sec'y Blackwell pushed for "no fault" absentee voting (aka early voting) and the Republican legislature put it into effect, they learned many people liked it, not just Republicans, and began attempts to limit it.