Federal Courts Roll Back Florida and Ohio Voter Suppression Laws

Federal Courts Roll Back Florida and Ohio Voter Suppression Laws


The important battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio have all changes in voting requirements.  Most of those changes in the law, all passed by Republican legislatures and signed by Republican Governors, involve making it just a little bit harder to vote through ID requirements, shortened voting hours and restrictions on early voting.

But several recent Federal Courts decisions are reversing the new laws.

Recently two of the three battleground states, Ohio and Florida, have witnessed those laws get slapped down by Federal Courts. Only in Pennsylvania has the voter ID law remained in tact.  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will review a recent decision however.  In Texas, a law requiring certain photo IDs to vote was blocked by a Federal Court this week.

The Texas law mandated strict photo ID requirements that were likely to effect voters who voted for President Obama four years ago: Students, the poor, minorities and the elderly.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Peter Economus handed down a decision that restored early voting in Ohio. The injunction reinstates what the law was in 2008 and citizens may vote person three days before November 6.

Judge Economus stated he expects Ohio to direct all county election boards to maintain a consistent schedule “in keeping with his earlier directive that only by doing so can he ensure that Ohio’s election process is ‘uniform, accessible for all, fair, and secure.’”

Ohio’s Republican controlled legislature and Governor John Kasich attempted to cut off early voting days.  Laws in more than twenty states around the country have sought to curtail and cut off early voting and Sunday voting.  In Texas, the Republican legislature and Governor attempted to put hurdles in front of voters by requiring specific forms of ID.   In Pennsylvania the same type of efforts by a Republican controlled legislature and Governor were seen.