Saturday, August 04, 2012

FAIL-Force Winds

So I was perusing my feed on Facebook and came across this story.
Now Obama is on record trying to restrict the votes of military personnel.
Wow.  Really?  Not passing the sniff test, I typed "federal lawsuit ohio voting military" in to the Google-machine, and the intertubes spat out several pages of stories all saying the same thing.  Some came from places like Drudge and Hot Air, sure, but others were mainstream news outlets, including network affiliates in  Ohio cities.

Didn't look good.

After several pages of scrolling, I found a DailyKos piece that, while certainly no more reliable, ideologically, than all the Breitbart/Instapundit/LGF right-wing sites, had the virtue of a link to the actual text of the very real suit filed in a physical federal court.  The very first sentence of the complaint filed by co-plaintiffs Obama for America, the DNC, and the Ohio Democratic Party reads:
Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day – a right exercised by an estimated 93,000 Ohioans in the last presidential election.
Wait.  What?  The lawsuit is brought to bring back voting rights Ohio residents had previously enjoyed?  What does that have to do with restricting military voting?

Reading through the lawsuit, we come to the money shot.
Specifically, taken together, Amended Substitute House Bill Number 194 (“HB 194”), Amended Substitute House Bill Number 224 (“HB 224”) and Substitute Senate Bill Number 295 (“SB 295”), all enacted by the 129 the Ohio General Assembly, impose different deadlines for in-person voting prior to Election Day (“early voting”) on similarly situated voters.  Prior to the enactment of these laws, there was a single uniform deadline of the Monday before Election Day for inperson early voting.  After the enactment of these laws, voters using the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (“UOCAVA”) may vote early in-person at a board of elections office up through the Monday before Election Day, while non-UOCAVA voters can vote early in-person at a board of elections office (or designated alternate site) only up until 6 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day.
OK.  So, if you read this far and no farther, it certainly looks like plaintiffs are whining because military personnel have an undo advantage in exercising their right to vote.

Which is why folks need to keep reading.
The Ohio General Assembly has failed to articulate any justification for this differential treatment of UOCAVA and non-UOCAVA voters, and no justification can be discerned.  Indeed, these different deadlines exist despite the fact that, for purposes of in-person early voting, both UOCAVA and non-UOCAVA voters are identically situated, i.e., they are qualified electors who are physically present in their home county when they desire to vote in-person at their county board of elections office prior to Election Day. . . .
[A]s a result of HB 224 and SB 295, most Ohio voters will not be permitted to vote in the three days prior to Election Day for no apparent reason.  Without early voting in these last three days before Election Day, tens of thousands of citizens who would have otherwise exercised their right to vote during this time period, including Plaintiffs’ members and supporters, may not be able to participate in future elections at all. 
In other words, plaintiffs want to restore early voting to non-military personnel.  Much of the body of the suit rehearses the confused and contradictory history of attempts the Ohio legislature has made to restrict the ability to exercise voting rights.  In their haste and (probably) confusion, they let stand a very nice privilege for the military personnel who might be home on leave prior to Election Day; they revoked this same privilege for folks who, as the suit says, "are similarly situated", i.e., they, too, are residing in their legal residence and are otherwise able to vote.  If they show up at the polls on Saturday and Sunday between an Army Major or a Navy pilot, however, they will be turned away.  The suit is being brought to make sure that civilian gets the same opportunity to vote early as the uniformed folks standing in line.

In other words, the story the folks on the right are pushing is the exact freaking opposite of reality.  There is nothing in this lawsuit that seeks to restrict any voting by anyone, military or civilian; rather the entire intent of the lawsuit is to expand opportunities to vote for all Ohio residents.

There is an irony here.  The story was originally "broken" by the folks at  The author of the initial story is . . . wait for it . . . an attorney.

I'm an unemployed former WalMart associate, and I figured out what the lawsuit said.

Virtual Tin Cup

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