OK, this is complicated:
Ohio allows in-person early voting starting 35 days before Election Day -- 45 days for members of the military, following federal law. Counties used to be allowed to continue the early voting period all the way up to the day before Election Day, and a few took advantage of that; others cut early voting off the previous Friday. The Republicans who control the Ohio government have now taken away the option of early voting on that final weekend throughout the state.
Oh, except for members of the military and their families. They now get weekend voting throughout the state.
So, to sum up: Early voting on the weekend before Election Day has been banned in the counties where it was allowed -- but extended for the military everywhere in the state.
The Obama administration has sued to go back to the old rules. And how does Breitbart.com describe that move?
OBAMA CAMPAIGN SUES TO RESTRICT MILITARY VOTINGYes, Obama and the Democrats are showing their withering contempt for the military by ... er, asking that Ohio voting laws be restored to what the state considered perfectly acceptable for servicemembers up until, oh, early this year. Why did the government of Ohio hate freedom until then?
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?
...If anyone proposes legislation to combat voter fraud, Democrats will loudly scream that the proposal could "disenfranchise" some voter, somewhere. We must ensure, they argue, that voting is easy and accessible to every single voter. Every voter, that is, except the men and women of our military....
I give Ohio Republicans credit for Machiavellianism: they clearly wanted to cut off early voting for certain civilians, but they made sure to extend it for the military, so if Democrats attacked the law, they'd look like filthy freedom-hating hippies.
Overall, our electoral system is a mess. It's crazy that we have a patchwork of voting laws and registration laws. On voter ID, I'd say we should have a national ID card, issued for free, and if you want to go all libertarian and refuse it, you have to opt out.
Meanwhile, if voters are being asked to jump through additional hoops in order to exercise their voting rights, it's imperative that liberal and civil rights groups work on making it easier to jump through those hoops. In a situation like this, spreading information about the changes in the law is imperative. We need to help make sure that people can vote in compliance with changed laws, even as we try to prevent, modify, or overturn those changes.
What's specifically being targeted here is a practice in black churches of urging the congregation to "take your souls to the polls" on the Sunday before Election Day. I oppose open endorsement of candidates from the pulpit, but urging people to vote is fine (and that goes for you, too, in the predominantly white, conservative churches). The GOP knows this effort increases black (and thus Democratic) turnout, so now it's not permitted.
Except that nothing prevents these churches from urging their congregations to go to the polls two Sundays before Election Day. Yes, fight to change the law back (and while you're at it, let everyone, military and civilian, vote right up until Election Day). But until that battle is won, help voters adjust to the new reality.
(Sources: CNN; the Cleveland Plain Dealer; AP; Wall Street Journal; Ohio Secretary of State's Office.)
UPDATE SATURDAY Puke funnel engaged! This deceitful line of attack is now being used by Mitt Romney, Eric Fehrnstrom, Allen West, Fox News, and Fox Nation, with, no doubt, more to come. Needless to say, they're not telling you the truth.