High Noon on Voter Intimidation
The legal situation with respect to GOP plans to challenge Democratic and/or minority voters in Ohio and elsewhere has gotten as frenzied as the election itself.
In the wee hours of this morning, Ohio federal district judge Susan Dlott ruled that the state's law allowing party representatives to challenge voter eligibility at the polls is unconstitutional. Even though the suit only involved voter challenges in Hamilton County (Cincinatti), the constitutional ruling would, if it stands, ban such challenges statewide. A separate ruling by a different federal judge is expect today, involving Summit County (Akron). The state GOP, natch, is asking the federal court of appeals to reverse Dlott's ruling, and could be aided in the appeal if there's a different outcome in the Summit case.
Meanwhile, in a separate case with potential national impact, a federal judge in New Jersey will hold a hearing today on a Democratic suit alleging that the GOP's voter challenges in Ohio and other states violate a 1981 consent order by the national Republican Party agreeing to abandon such efforts in the future, after evidence the GOP had engaged in minority voter intimidation in the Garden State.
Litigation this close to election day is obviously unusual, but better now than on November 3.