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Military Voting Rights Under Fire in Ohio

Lawyers for the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee marched into federal court last week to argue that it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow military voters to cast in-person early ballots on the Saturday through Monday before Election Day, given that early voting for all other voters stops on the Friday before Election Day. Apparently, Team Obama has decided to take a break from howling about the alleged injustice of voter-ID laws to argue that military voters don’t deserve an occasional accommodation.

“For the first time, the vast majority of Ohio voters will come fully eligible to vote to an open polling place and find that they cannot vote,” claimed Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel for President Obama, and now a lawyer with the Obama campaign. Bauer’s complaint focuses on the fact that the polls, per current law, will be open Saturday through Monday for only some voters, military personnel casting in-person early votes.

But Judge Peter Economus, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, promptly interrupted: “It’s not that they cannot vote. There are so many other options, and Ohio is probably one of the most liberal states in the country in regard to voting rights.”

Bauer replied: “I think it is a bedrock principle that when the polls are open, they’re open to all.”

Regardless of how the judge rules, the Obama lawsuit seeks to establish a dangerous precedent that would diminish the rights of military voters — who already face serious obstacles to voting. In 2008, when election turnout nationwide was 62 percent, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission reported that only 5.5 percent of eligible military and overseas voters cast ballots that were actually counted. A survey by the Overseas Vote Foundation points to one possible explanation for the low turnout: According to its report, nearly 22 percent of civilian and military overseas voters never received their requested absentee ballot for the 2008 election, and 10 percent received their ballot less than seven days before the election.

The Obama suit argues that giving military voters extra time or extra protections to vote is arbitrary and capricious and violates equal protection under the law. Such a finding would void all the different rules implemented by states and the federal government to help military voters. We all know that those in uniform have problems that other voters don’t have, and it’s not arbitrary or capricious to treat them differently than we do other voters who usually don’t have overseas commitments and whose work schedules are far more negotiable. What Team Obama seeks to do is destroy the legal distinction between military and non-military voters.

Read the original article at National Review

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