The state of Ohio filed a federal court appeal on Thursday seeking to restore a Republican-backed limit on early voting and accelerated voter-registration measures that were seen by civil rights groups as boosting minority turnout.
U.S. District Judge Michael Watson in Columbus ruled on Tuesday that Ohio violated voters’ rights by reducing the period that ballots could be cast before an election to four weeks from five weeks.
Watson’s decision also struck down Ohio’s elimination of a seven-day window during which residents could both register to vote and cast their ballots all in the same week – a period known as “Golden Week.”
Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature abolished “Golden Week” and shortened early voting by seven days in 2014, drawing a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Watson sided with the ACLU and NAACP in finding that both changes, which critics said directly limited opportunities for minority participation in elections, violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and were unconstitutional.
On Thursday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, petitioned the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review Watson’s decision, which he said scrapped a court-approved settlement the state previously reached with the ACLU and NAACP on early voting.
The settlement allowed voters to cast ballots on multiple Sundays leading up to a presidential election and provided for additional evening voting hours, according to ACLU documents.
Husted said Golden Week had become an administrative problem for state elections officials and increased the potential for voter fraud, arguing its elimination had broad bipartisan support.
The Ohio Democratic Party countered with a statement accusing Republican state officials of “defending a law that clear data showed imposed a stark discriminatory impact on Ohio’s African-American voters.”
The appeal came a day after the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation that would require any resident or organization to post a cash bond with a local court in order to keep polling stations open later than scheduled on election day.
Judges in Ohio have on occasion ordered some polls to extend their hours because of voting equipment problems, major traffic issues and severe weather, including during the 2016 primaries.
Opponents of the bill have said it violates the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which expressly prohibits the imposition of a “poll tax.”
(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Peter Cooney)
READ IT: More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials tell Bill Barr to resign now
More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and political crony Roger J. Stone Jr.
“It is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case,” wrote the former Justice Department attorneys in their Sunday letter. “It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.”
Trump campaign forced to delete #Daytona500 Air Force One photo because it was from 15 years ago
Another oops moment happened for President Donald Trump's campaign manager stole George W. Bush's photo from the Daytona 500 in 2004.
Tweeting Sunday, Brad Parscale proclaimed, "[email protected] won the #Daytona500 before the race even started."
Except, it wasn't him. As many people pointed out, the image was from 16 years ago by photographer Jonathan Ferrey, CNN reported. Parscale was forced to delete it and tweet it out again with an underwhelming photo.
‘America — y’all gotta wake up’: MSNBC panel cracks up laughing at Trump bizarre claims about the border wall
Last month, President Donald Trump's border wall collapsed due to weather problems. A new decision was made that in certain areas, Trump's wall must be a kind of "gate" that will remain open during months known for heavy flooding.
After weeks of ignoring the news, Trump finally found something to say about the catastrophe during a press conference where he rambled about different ways that people have tried to get drugs over the wall using a sling-shot.