Judge: Law trimming early voting in Ohio is unconstitutional

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(Photo WDTN/Kris Sproles)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a law trimming early voting in swing-state Ohio is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.

The state’s Democratic Party was among the plaintiffs who sued Ohio’s elections chief over a series of Republican-backed voting changes.

Such policies included the elimination of a week of early voting in which Ohioans could also register to vote — a period known as golden week. Democrats claimed the change disproportionately burdened black voters.

U.S. District Judge Michael Watson sided with Democrats on that claim. He ruled Tuesday that the early voting cut violates the Voting Rights Act and voters’ equal protection rights. But he sided with the state on other challenged policies in the case.

The state argued the changes were minor and Ohioans had many opportunities to vote.

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