By Terry Baynes
Oct 12 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's re-election
campaign on Friday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold lower
court decisions allowing in-person early voting in the
battleground state of Ohio in the three days before the Nov. 6
Ohio, critical to both Democrat Obama and Republican
challenger Mitt Romney, began early in-person voting last
Tuesday but planned to cut it off on Nov. 2, the Friday before
the Nov. 6 election, except for members of the military.
The Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee and
the Ohio Democratic Party had sued Ohio officials to restore
early voting right up to election day eve. Republicans opposed
their efforts, saying a cutoff was needed to reduce voter fraud.
Last week, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a
U.S. District Court order that reinstated early voting in the
final days before the election.
Ohio's top election official, Secretary of State Jon Husted,
a Republican, asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to
overturn that decision. In a response filed on Friday evening,
Obama's campaign asked the high court to let the 6th Circuit
The Obama campaign's court document said Ohio "settled on a
voting procedure unheard of in any other state" and that two
courts had found it would "significantly burden tens of
thousands of Ohio voters and likely violate" their
It said the Republicans sought an emergency suspension of
the appeal's court decision "but have utterly failed to carry
their burden of showing that a stay is warranted."
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling soon,
with the election just more than three weeks away.
Early voting and extended voting hours are thought to
benefit Democrats because lower-income people, who tend to vote
Democratic, are more likely to work odd hours.
Husted called the 6th Circuit's decision an unprecedented
intrusion by federal judges into state elections that was
illegal and impractical.
The appeals court's decision did not require polls to be
open on the final three days, leaving it up to the discretion of
the state's 88 individual county election boards.
A coalition of 15 states, including Colorado, Wisconsin and
Virginia, filed a supporting brief for Ohio on Friday,
encouraging the court to block the 6th Circuit's ruling. They
said Ohio had not placed a burden on citizens' ability to vote
by eliminating the three early voting days.
The case is Husted et al v. Obama for America et al, U.S.
Supreme Court, No. 12A338.
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