Without Golden Week, Ohioans have 28 days to vote, including Election Day Nov. 8. Based on the wording of the court decision, this story originally said 29 days.
By a 2-1 decision, a panel of three federal appeals judges has shot down the week during which first-time voters can register and cast ballots at the same time. That sets the first day of early voting this fall on Oct. 12, after the last day of voter registration.
The decision overturns a district court judge, who said the Republican-backed bill eliminating the so-called Golden Week by shortening early voting was unconstitutional. Two of the three judges on the appeals panel said a 28-day voting period – minus the Golden Week – is quite generous. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted is pleased with the win.
“This is not a new – this is a circular argument that’s been going on for nearly a decade in Ohio.”
The two judges in the majority opinion were appointed by Republican President George W. Bush; the one who dissented was appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama.
The lawsuit was filed by Democratic organizations, which can appeal to the full 6th Circuit Court of Appeals or to the U.S. Supreme Court.