Good news came today via the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals for Ohio voters. TPM reports that the lower court ruling requiring early voting for everyone and not just military voters was upheld. Here's the key part of the ruling:
"The State’s asserted goal of accommodating the unique situation of members of the military, who may be called away at a moment’s notice in service to the nation, is certainly a worthy and commendable goal," the court ruled. "However, while there is a compelling reason to provide more opportunities for military voters to cast their ballots, there is no corresponding satisfactory reason to prevent non-military voters from casting their ballots as well."
[Full text of the ruling is here]
Of course there's no reason to exclude nonmilitary voters from early voting. Unless, of course, you want to make sure Democrats don't have the same opportunity to vote as Republicans do.
At the ElectionLawBlog, Rick Hasen thinks Ohio will push this upstairs:
I think there is a fairly good chance this ruling gets appealed. First DeWine is going to want to push this issue, as are Republicans generally because it presents an opportunity to continue to argue that the Obama campaign is taking steps against military voters (a charge I believe is bogus). The next step of the appeal is to the Sixth Circuit as a whole. As I’ve explained in this blog post and this recent Slate piece, the Sixth Circuit has divided bitterly on election law disputes recently, and there are more Republican-appointed judges than Democratic ones. The step after that, of course, is the U.S. Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, early voting is underway in Ohio. The only question is whether it will be stopped for the weekend before the election. Stay tuned.