On Monday, the Supreme Court decided to give democracy another Street Fighter-like kick to the jock. In yet another 5-4 vote split along ideological lines (or evil versus reasonable, if we’re being blunt about it), the ruling delayed the state of early voting in Ohio that was set to begin on Tuesday. The move, which was objected to by each of the court’s liberal justices, reversed a lower court’s decision that blocked the state from reducing early voting from 35 to 28 days. Additionally, the federal appeals court ordered the restoration of some evening and Sunday voting that Ohio’s state legislature eliminated.
Still, the state argued that their new plan could not be seen as violating the rights of minority voters. Why? Well, the petition explained, “Ohio offers more early-voting options than 41 other states and the District of Columbia.”
So basically, in the state of Ohio’s mind, because they are less awful than less than 41 states and the District of Columbia with respect to early voting, we shouldn’t call them out for their voter suppression efforts.
This is like saying I shouldn’t be mad at the person who bumped in to me and made me drop my catfish sandwich on the ground because the cook gave me a cold piece anyway.
Moreover, Ohio argues that the new measures do “nothing more than maintain the same early voting rules that have governed the last four general elections in Ohio and which voters are currently expecting.”
As USA Today notes, the justices invited the state to seek a full ruling on the merits of the case. Should the request be denied or if the state loses in court, the expanded hours would be restored — though not in time for this year’s election.
Again, how convenient for a political side whose chances at winning elections are maximized when minorities don’t show up at the polls.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit understood this in their ruling last Wednesday.
The New York Times reports:
The panel reasoned that cutting back on early voting at polling places placed a disproportionate burden on poor and Black voters.
The panel said it was mindful that Ohio allows voting by mail throughout the contested period. “The presence of vote by mail undoubtedly ameliorates some of the burdens on voting,” Judge Karen Nelson Moore wrote for the panel. But she added that “African-Americans, lower-income individuals and the homeless are distrustful of the mail” or “would prefer to vote in person for unrelated reasons.”
“Unrelated reasons,” such as realizing that for a very, very, very long period in this country, Blacks were disenfranchised; therefore, being able to vote in person is honoring those who fought so ardently for our collective right to be treated as full citizens, which is a right Republicans across the country want to strip away.
Yes, sadly, the Ohio case is just one of many. There are efforts in Texas, Arkansas, and Wisconsin to impose photo ID requirements. In North Carolina, there are court cases based on cutting early voting, same-day registration, and provisional ballots. The Wisconsin case is said to be the next to hit the Supreme Court and already lower courts have ruled in favor of their proposed ID rules.
Should any of these other court cases make it to the Supreme Court — in its current formation — things will likely not look favorable for the voting rights of minorities, the working class, and the poor. But of course, when it comes the corporations, their rights must be upheld. Unfortunately, there are sadder days ahead until some of the right-leaning justices head for retirement, or you know, wherever else happens when your time is up.
RELATED: Voter Suppression Update