In today’s installment, we find the presumptive Republican nominee expressing “outrage” at a lawsuit by the President’s campaign that, according to Romney, claims ”it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period.” (Quote is from Talking Points Memo.) Romney probably meant “servicewomen” and not all women, and he must have overlooked the fact that servicepeople are allowed to vote during the same period as other citizens of Ohio. The blatant untruth is that the lawsuit is not seeking to take anything away from members of the armed services. Rather, it seeks to give all citizens of Ohio the same rights as members of the military. A copy of the actual suit can be read at Dave Weigel’s piece in yesterday’s Slate.com.
The background outlined in the lawsuit is also quite instructive. Ohio, you may recall, had horrible problems with lengthy voting lines in the 2004 elections. Six-hour waits were reported, and the lawsuit states that, in one place, some voters had to wait until 4:00 a.m. the next day to cast their ballot. The solution devised was to permit voters to cast ballots in-person in advance of Election Day. This permitted 93,000 people to vote in the 2008 election before Tuesday. The Ohio Legislature, controlled by Republicans, amended the early voting law so that one small group, including members of the military, could vote in-person up until the day before Election Day. All others had to vote by the Friday before Election Day. In the legal action, the plaintiffs claim, “The Ohio General Assembly has failed to articulate any justification for this differential treatment … and no justification can be discerned.”
A more cynical observer, of course, may see this as yet another attempt by Republican-controlled legislatures around the country to deprive eligible voters of their rights. That is the real outrage here, along with yet another attempt by Mitt Romney to blatantly distort reality.