Today on Facebook, Mitt Romney claims that the Obama campaign is trying to “undermine” the ability of members of the military to vote in Ohio:
President Obama’s lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period is an outrage. The brave men and women of our military make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms, and we should do everything we can to protect their fundamental right to vote. I stand with the fifteen military groups that are defending the rights of military voters, and if I’m entrusted to be the commander-in-chief, I’ll work to protect the voting rights of our military, not undermine them.
This certainly sounds outrageous, but it is not true. Since 2005, Ohio has had in person early-voting in the three days prior to the election. This year, however, the Republican legislature in Ohio eliminated early voting during this period, except for members of the military. The Obama lawsuit is attempting to restore voting rights for all Ohioans, not restrict them for the military or any other group. From the Obama lawsuit, filed in federal court:
Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day – a right exercised by an estimated 93,000 Ohioans in the last presidential election. Ohio election law, as currently enacted by the State of Ohio and administered by Defendant Ohio Secretary of State, arbitrarily eliminates early voting during the three days prior to Election Day for most Ohio voters, a right previously available to all Ohio voters.
The Obama campaign’s request for a preliminary injunction does not seek to restrict military voting. Rather, it simply is asking that the full early voting period be open to all citizens, as it was under the law before this year.
Even Fox News acknowledges the purpose of the suit, noting “the lawsuit does not restrict the ability of military personnel to cast their ballots early.”
The Romney campaign is totally unable to back up their candidate’s claim:
Romney’s spokesman, Ryan Williams, in an interview Saturday could point to no place in Obama’s lawsuit that seeks to restrict the rights of military voters…
Romney’s legal counsel, Katie Biber, said creating two separate classes of Ohio voters does not violate the 14th Amendment, though she also did not offer evidence that Obama’s lawsuit would make it tougher for members of the military to vote…