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OH: Military groups seek to join Obama v. Husted voting lawsuit

By   /   August 3, 2012  /   News  /   Comments Off on OH: Military groups seek to join Obama v. Husted voting lawsuit

By Maggie Thurber | Special to Ohio Watchdog

COLUMBUS — A group of 15 military organizations filed a motion to intervene in a voting lawsuit filed by Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party against Ohio’s Secretary of State John Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The lawsuit, filed last month in U.S. District Court in Columbus, seeks to overturn a law that allows members of the military to vote during the three days prior to the election. The lawsuit claims the law is unfair because ordinary Ohioans can’t take advantage of the military’s right to vote during those three days.

The groups are:

  • National Guard Association of the United States,
  • Association of the United States Army,
  • Association of the United States Navy,
  • Marine Corps League,
  • Military Officers Association of America,
  • Reserve Officers Association,
  • National Association for Uniformed Services,
  • Non Commissioned Officers Association of the USA,
  • Army Reserve Association,
  • Fleet Reserve Association,
  • Special Forces Association,
  • U.S. Army Ranger Association Inc.,
  • National Defense Committee,
  • Military Order of the World Wars.

The plaintiffs claim the law violates the Equal Protection Clause, because Ohio “arbitrarily,” with “no justification” and with “no discernible rational basis,” allows military and overseas voters to cast in-person absent ballots through Election Day.

In their motion to interview, the military groups state, “The Obama campaign’s and Democratic National Committee’s argument that it is arbitrary and unconstitutional to afford special consideration, flexibility, and accommodations to military voters to make it easier for them to vote in person is not only offensive, but flatly wrong as a matter of law.”

The motion asks the court to deny the request for a temporary injunction which, if granted, would prevent military voters from casting ballots during the three-day time period. It also notes that the Ohio General Assembly discussed the lawsuit’s main objection, that non-military voters were not accorded the same provision as military voters, and declined to change the wording of the law.

The filing says the “decision to extend special consideration, accommodations, and flexibility to military voters was not only eminently reasonable, but positively commendable.”

“The extra three-day period for in-person absent voting reasonably can be seen as a part of the State’s effort to further encourage and facilitate voting by members of the military, whose daily sacrifices allow the right to vote to remain alive in the first place,” the filing states.

It also says that efforts to maximize military voting “should be welcomed, not viewed with constitutional suspicion.”

A hearing on Motion for Preliminary Injunction is scheduled for Aug. 15 at 9:30 a.m. before Senior Judge Peter Economus.