The breitbart.com headline screams “Obama Campaign Sues to Restrict Military Voting”
Can They Scream any Louder?
The screaming continues (the bolding is mine):
President Barack Obama, along with many Democrats, likes to say that, while they may disagree with the GOP on many issues related to national security, they absolutely share their admiration and dedication to members of our armed forces. Obama, in particular, enjoys being seen visiting troops and having photos taken with members of our military. So, why is his campaign and the Democrat party suing to restrict their ability to vote in the upcoming election?
On July 17th, the Obama for America Campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party filed suit in OH to strike down part of that state’s law governing voting by members of the military. Their suit said that part of the law is “arbitrary” with “no discernible rational basis.”
Currently, Ohio allows the public to vote early in-person up until the Friday before the election. Members of the military are given three extra days to do so. While the Democrats may see this as “arbitrary” and having “no discernible rational basis,” I think it is entirely reasonable given the demands on servicemen and women’s time and their obligations to their sworn duty.
I suspected something was up, it is breitbart.com after all, so I went to the site (pity me) and tracked down the actual complaint.
breitbart.com is so focused on emulating Fox News and doing their damnedest to confirm their bias, their eye sight has become irreversibly myopic, and like the beginnings of a bad migraine suffers from tunnel vision.
They believe that the Obama administration is trying to eliminate the extra three days of voting users of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (UOCAVA) gets when compared to the non-UOCAVA.
Here is what is really happening:
Taken directly from the complaint.
“…Amended Substitute House Bill Number 194 (‘HB194’), Amended Substitute House Bill Number 224 (‘HB 224’) and SubstituteSenate Bill Number 295 (‘SB 295’), all enacted by the 129thOhio General Assembly, impose different deadlines for in-person voting prior to Election Day(‘early voting’) on similarly situated voters. Prior to the enactment of these laws,there was a single uniform deadline of the Monday before Election Day for in- person early voting. After the enactment of these laws, voters using the Uniformedand Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (‘UOCAVA’) may vote early in-personat a board of elections office up through the Monday before Election Day, whilenon-UOCAVA voters can vote early in-person at a board of elections office (or designated alternate site) only up until 6 p.m. on the Friday before Election Day”
In other words, at one time both the military and non-military could vote up until the Monday before the election. After the enactment of Bill #194 only the military were able to vote up until Monday. Everyone else were limited to voting up until the Friday prior to that Monday.
“Then, after Ohio citizens exercised their right to hold a referendum vote on HB 194 by qualifying for the general election ballot, the Ohio General Assembly passed SB 295 to repeal HB194, but failed to also repeal the corresponding ‘technical corrections’ made by HB224 in the interim.”
Here is the quote the amazing scholars at breitbart.com put in their article.
“Whether caused by legislative error or partisan motivation, theresult of this legislative process is arbitrary and inequitable treatment of similarly-situated Ohio voters with respect to in-person early voting.”
Back to the complaint:
“Now, as a result of HB 224 and SB 295, most Ohio voters will not be permitted to vote in the three days prior to Election Day for no apparent reason.”
“Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction prohibiting Defendantsfrom implementing or enforcing the HB 224 and SB 295 changes to Ohio Rev. Code§ 3509.03, thereby restoring in-person absentee voting on the three days immediately preceding Election Day for all Ohio voters.”
Some clarifications are needed because of the way the the three Bills, #194, #224, #295 played out.
Bill #194 was signed into Law July 1, 2011 and supposed to go into effect September 30, 2011. Because the law was to remove the three day advanced voting from the non-military, a number of lawmakers gathered enough signatures for a referendum, which is to be held November 2012. It (Bill #194) isn’t in effect until that referendum.
In the meantime, Bill #224 signed into law July 27, 2011 made some corrections that eased restrictions for military, but kept the restrictions for others.
Bill #295 repealed some of the restrictions in Bill #194, it did not repeal the laws in #224 that were just a technical rewrite of those in Bill #194.
The Dems have proposals that will restore the 3 days for non-military to match those of the military, so all voters will be able to vote until Monday.
Opposite to what the geniuses at Breitbart report, the complaint will not remove early voting rights for the military, it will allow others to vote until the Monday before the election.
NOTE: My use of label ‘military’ actually means the users of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (UOCAVA).