A new lawsuit was filed on Friday challenging and seeking the undoing of a series of new rules around elections in Ohio that threaten to make it significantly harder for marginalized voters to cast a ballot.
As with so many other restrictive changes to the handling of elections, these updates don’t respond to any documented, systematic problems of election fraud, since no such issues exist. The list, though, is substantial, including new requirements demanding voters at in-person polling locations present one of four specific forms of photo ID, shortening the time period after Election Day in which voters can fix issues with their absentee ballots, and lengthening the time before the election by which voters must request a mail-in ballot. It used to be three days; now, it’s a week. According to the voting rights organization Democracy Docket, the newly challenged law also shortens the time period after the election in which authorities can receive a mail-in ballot and still tabulate it from 10 days to just four.
Ballots in that last category can’t be postmarked after the election and still tabulated. The time period simply allows for issues like delays in mail delivery. Involved in the new lawsuit are groups including the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, and Union Veterans Council. The suit contends that the new rules “impose disproportionately severe burdens on young, elderly, and Black voters in the state,” in addition to individuals serving in the military and other Ohioans who might be living outside the state whose ballots could be affected by punitively shortening the time after the election in which local authorities can still count a vote they receive.
The case relies on arguments from the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and Democracy Docket identified the case as the first court challenge to the new Ohio law, which the legal advocacy organization also ID’ed as the first suppressive law of its kind from after the 2022 midterm elections.
A wave of restrictions, from new rules for voter ID to limits on the use of drop boxes for mail-in ballots and even restrictions on third-party organizations seeking to help voters throughout the electoral process, were passed following the 2020 elections. Trump is still pushing his nonsensical claims about what he insists happened during those elections. He recently restated conspiracy theories about the supposed involvement of two 2020 election workers in Georgia in nonexistent fraud, posting a series of audio clips in which it’s not always clear what’s actually being said and in which nobody actually admits to anything particularly dramatic and specific, no matter Trump’s feverish hype.