News
7:13 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

US Justice Department May Join Challenge To Ohio Voting Laws

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

The U.S. Justice Department may be joining other groups who have gone to court to challenge changes in Ohio’s voting laws.  M.L. Schultze of member station WKSU in Kent reports. 

In an interview with ABC News Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder said he expects the Justice Department could be intervening in some way in voting rights lawsuits already filed in Ohio and Wisconsin. That part of the interview never aired, but MSNBC got the transcript and broke the news in which Holder pledged to “use every power that I have … as attorney general to defend that right to vote.” 

It’s not clear just what action the Justice Department would be taking.  
Earleir this year, Ohio lawmakers – overwhelmingly Republican – eliminated the so-called golden week – in which people could register and vote on the same day. Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted also cut out early, in-person voting the Sunday before an election – a decision he was forced to reverse by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus. 
The ACLU and NAACP are challenging the restrictions that remain, saying black voters are more than three times as likely to vote early as white voters. Economus has scheduled a hearing for mid-August in the case. Husted has noted that Ohio has more early voting days than many other states, and has said his interest is in uniformity of voting hours among Ohio’s 88 counties.