That means that if any court case is most likely to affect the November election, it would probably be the decision today by a Federal District Court in Ohio, provided it is affirmed on appeal. In that case, the court struck down the state's effort to restrict early voting the weekend before election day, a procedure that has proven highly successful in past elections in increasing voter turnout. The court held that it was unfair to allow members of the military to continue to take advantage of early voting, while denying that right to everyone else. (To be clear, the Obama campaign, the plaintiff is this suit, has nothing against helping members of the military to vote, It just wants to allow all voters in Ohio to continue to enjoy the same expanded hours they have enjoyed in the past.) Here is what the court said:
The burden on Ohio voters’ right to participate in the national and statewide election is great, as evidenced by the statistical analysis offered by Plaintiffs and not disputed by Defendants. Moreover, the State fails to articulate a precise, compelling interest in establishing the 6 p.m. Friday deadline as applied to non-UOCAVA voters and has failed to evidence any commitment to the “exception” it rhetorically extended to UOCAVA voters. Therefore, the State’s interests are insufficiently weighty to justify the injury to Plaintiffs. See Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780, 798 (1983).Note the last citation in this excerpt from the opinion. It would be a delicious irony if the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore, which effectively appointed George W. Bush to the presidency by preventing the state of Florida from proceeding with a recount, turned out to assist President Obama in winning re-election to a second term. That's why the court's reliance on Bush v. Gore might be somewhat provocative to the Supreme Court, which, if it decided to take up this case, might try to point out that even though Bush v. Gore established very strict standards for making voting procedures equal in all parts of a state, that decision has no precedential weight, because it was only intended to facilitate Bush's ascension to the presidency, and should therefore not be read to say what it actually says.
The issue here is not the right to absentee voting, which, as the Supreme Court has already clarified, is not a “fundamental right.” McDonald v. Bd. of Election Commissioners, 394 U.S. 802, 807 (1969). The issue presented is the State’s redefinition of in-person early voting and the resultant restriction of the right of Ohio voters to cast their votes in person through the Monday before Election Day. This Court stresses that where the State has authorized in-person early voting through the Monday before Election Day for all voters, “the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s vote over that of another.” Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 104-05 (2000). Here, that is precisely what the State has done.
But if the case is affirmed by the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court nevertheless decides to duck it, then the courts will have given greater weight to the principle of equality, increased access to the polls for everyone, and smoothed the way to the president's re-election.