Court’s Ohio Decision on Early Voting Could Affect Other States

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court delayed the start of early voting in Ohio on Sept. 27, a day before it was scheduled to begin, temporarily blocking a victory won by voting rights groups in lower courts.

The decision has potential implications for other states, including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas and Arkansas, where state efforts to tighten up voting procedures are opposed by civil rights groups who say they disproportionately affect minorities.

Ohio’s was the first of those cases to reach the high court, and the conservative majority blocked lower court rulings that would have jump-started early voting Tuesday.

Their action, opposed by the court’s four liberal justices, reversed a federal appeals court decision that had blocked the state from reducing early voting from 35 to 28 days. The lower court also had ordered the state to restore some evening and Sunday voting that the Legislature had eliminated.

Those reductions remain in place as a result of the high court’s order. The justices invited the state to seek a full ruling on the merits of the case. If that request is denied or the state loses in court, the expanded voting hours would be restored — albeit too late for this year’s election.

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