COLUMBUS, Ohio — The nation’s highest court on Monday granted an emergency plea from state officials to block a lower court’s order expanding statewide early voting days and times.
The last-minute decision means early voting will not start Tuesday, but instead will be delayed one week.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said Monday evening he will implement the schedule he set in June, which eliminates one Sunday and extra weeknight evening hours from the statewide schedule he set on Sept. 12.
“Today’s ruling validates what I have long said, elections in Ohio should be run by the same rules in every county and Ohioans should have the right to make those rules through their elected representatives,” Husted said in a statement. “Ohioans can have confidence that it remains easy to vote and hard to cheat in our state.”
Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse or delay the district court order restoring Golden Week, a week-long window when people could both register to vote and cast a ballot in Ohio, forcing Husted to add more early voting hours to the statewide schedule and allowing county boards of election to set additional hours.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who oversees the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals where the case was appealed, referred the case to the full court, which voted 5-4 to grant the stay.
The court issued its order without an opinion or explanation, noting the court’s liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Kagan would not have granted the stay. Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy voted to grant the stay.
The stay will remain in effect until the court acts on an appeal from state officials, which has not yet been filed. Meanwhile, Husted directed boards of election to follow hours he set in June following an earlier federal court ruling restoring early voting on the last three days before Election Day.
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