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Justice Department Files Brief in Lawsuit Against Ohio Voting Rules

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 4:33 PM

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Voters walk into a polling place in Cleveland's Central neighborhood. (Nick Castele / ideastream)

The U.S. Department of Justice is weighing in on a federal lawsuit over voting times in Ohio. ideastream’s Nick Castele reports.

The NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union sued the state earlier this year over changes in Ohio’s voting schedule, saying they hit African-American voters the hardest.

One change eliminated the so-called “golden week,” in which people could register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. The second set times with limited after-hours voting and no Sunday voting.

Under orders from a federal judge, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has expanded those hours, but this lawsuit continues.

The brief from the Justice Department doesn’t ask for a specific ruling, but says the state of Ohio misinterpreted part of the Voting Rights Act in arguing against the lawsuit.

Matt McClellan, a spokesman for Husted’s office, maintains all voters have ample time to cast a ballot, and says the Justice Department shouldn’t be picking out Ohio when other states offer fewer early voting days.

The DOJ has also filed a brief in Wisconsin against a voter ID law there.

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