Ohio's Golden Week Killed by the Appeals Court

UPDATE!! The Federal Appeals Court struck down the ability of Ohio voters to Register and Vote at the same time at the Board of Elections. On August 23, Judge David McKEAGUE (appointed by George W. Bush) delivered the opinion of the court in which Judge Richard GRIFFIN (also appointed by George W. Bush), joined in the decision.  Judge Jane STRANCH, (appointed by Barack Obama) delivered a separate dissenting opinion.   This will only make it more difficult to get homeless people and those who move regularly to vote using a standard ballot. Here is a copy of the decision (pdf).

In May, District Court Judge Michael Watson ruled Ohio Secretary of State Husted’s voting restrictions, specifically the elimination of Golden Week, as unconstitutional. Golden Week is a one-week period about a month before an election during which Ohioans can register to vote and cast their ballots at the same time. Secretary of State Husted attempted to eliminate Golden Week in 2014, citing concerns over costs and logistics. Due to the ruling by Judge Watson, Golden Week has been restored for the November 2016 election.

Husted and fellow Ohio Republicans argued that the 28-day voting period without Golden Week was still one of the more expansive voting systems in the country. However, Judge Watson ruled that the reduction of Golden Week disproportionately affects African Americans, and thus is a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In fact, African American voters took advantage of Golden Week more than 5 times as often as white voters in 2012.

Golden Week for the November 2016 election will take place from October 3rd – 11th. Golden Week is an ideal time for homeless voters to register and vote, and NEOCH intends to fully utilize Golden Week during the upcoming election season.  

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by Megan Shanklin