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Justice Department Files Brief in Lawsuit Against Ohio Voting Rules

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

Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 4:33 pm

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.