University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Obama for America v. Husted VR-OH-0079
Docket / Court 2:12-CV-0636 ( S.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Case Summary
On July 17, 2012, Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee, and the Ohio Democratic Party sued the State of Ohio in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court to order a preliminary and ... read more >
On July 17, 2012, Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee, and the Ohio Democratic Party sued the State of Ohio in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court to order a preliminary and permanent injunction against recent changes to Ohio's system for managing absentee balloting and early in-person voting. They claimed that these changes would disproportionally effect poor and minority voters in violation of their constitutional rights under the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Specifically, in 2005, following widespread voting difficulties in the 2004 election, Ohio had expanded participation in absentee balloting and in-person early voting to include all registered Ohio voters. But in 2011, the state legislature limited access to in-person early voting during the three days prior to Election Day to only active duty military personnel and overseas residents. Ohio Revised Code 3509.03, Secretary of State Directive 2012-35. In addition, for most voters, weekend in-person early voting was eliminated, as was non-working hour voting-except for the last two weeks prior to Election Day, when elections boards are open until 7 p.m. weekdays. Plaintiffs presented evidence that most early voting had previously taken place in the non-work hours, and on weekends, and that this was particularly true for poor and African-American voters. They argued that Ohio's changes would disproportionately impact these voters.

On August 31, 2012, District Court Judge Peter Economus granted a preliminary injunction in the plaintiffs' favor. 888 F. Supp. 2d 897 (S.D. Ohio 2012). He explained that, under Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 104 (2000): "The right to vote is protected in more than the initial allocation of the franchise. Equal protection applies as well to the manner of its exercise. Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person's vote over that of another." The court found, that under Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780 (1983), the interests asserted by the state were outweighed by the burden to would-be early voters. Defendants appealed.

On October 5, 2012, The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion by Judge Eric Clay, affirmed the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction. 697 F.3d 423 (6th Cir. 2012). On October 16, without recorded dissent, the Supreme Court rejected an application by the State of Ohio for an emergency stay pending a petition for certiorari review. 133 S. Ct. 497 (2012). The Ohio Secretary of State promptly issued Directive 2012-50 to localities requiring that they remain open from 8 to 2 on the Saturday and Monday prior to Election day, and 1 to 5 on the Sunday prior to Election Day.

The November 2012 election came and went. In early 2014, the Ohio Secretary of State issued Directive 2014-06 which limited early in-person voting to only Saturday and Monday before an election, not Sunday. On May 1, 2014, plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment and requested that the court order a permanent injunction enjoining the Ohio Secretary of State from enforcing the restrictions codified in § 3509.03 and requiring him to restore in-person early voting to three days immediately preceding all future election days. District Court Judge Peter Economus granted the motion on June 11, 2014, and entered a permanent injunction against the Secretary of State from implementing and enforcing the Friday before election day close of in-person early voting.

Richard Jolly - 10/01/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Voting
Voting access
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Election administration
Vote dilution
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Ohio Secretary of State
Plaintiff Description Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Ohio Democratic Party
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2012 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
2:12-cv-00636-PCE-NMK (S.D. Ohio) 06/11/2014
VR-OH-0079-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 07/12/2012
VR-OH-0079-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Memorandum of Law in Support 07/17/2012
VR-OH-0079-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order on Preliminary Injunction 08/31/2012 (888 F.Supp.2d 897) (S.D. Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO ENFORCE THE COURT'S ORDER OF AUGUST 30, 2012 09/05/2012
VR-OH-0079-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [6th Circuit] 10/05/2012 (697 F.3d 423)
VR-OH-0079-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Emergency Application for a Stay 10/09/2012
VR-OH-0079-0006.pdf | Detail
OPPOSITION TO EMERGENCY APPLICATION FOR A STAY PENDING CERTIORARI 10/12/2012
VR-OH-0079-0007.pdf | Detail
REPLY IN SUPPORT OF EMERGENCY APPLICATION FOR STAY PENDING CERTIORARI 10/13/2012
VR-OH-0079-0008.pdf | Detail
Order in pending case [stay denied] 10/16/2012 (133 S.Ct. 497 / 184 L.Ed.2d 311)
VR-OH-0079-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Uniform Days and Hours for In-Person Absentee Voting from November 3, 2012 through November 5, 2012 10/16/2012
VR-OH-0079-0010.pdf | Detail
Preliminary Pretrial Order 02/21/2013 (S.D. Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Granting Motion for Summary Judgment] 06/11/2014 (2014 WL 2611316) (S.D. Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment and Permanent Injunction 06/11/2014 (S.D. Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0013.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Clay, Eric L. (Sixth Circuit)
VR-OH-0079-0005
Economus, Peter C. (N.D. Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0003 | VR-OH-0079-0004 | VR-OH-0079-0012 | VR-OH-0079-0013 | VR-OH-0079-9000
King, Norah McCann (S.D. Ohio) [Magistrate]
VR-OH-0079-0004 | VR-OH-0079-0011 | VR-OH-0079-9000
White, Helene N. (Sixth Circuit)
VR-OH-0079-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bauer, Robert F. (District of Columbia)
VR-OH-0079-0001 | VR-OH-0079-0002 | VR-OH-0079-0004 | VR-OH-0079-0004 | VR-OH-0079-0007 | VR-OH-0079-9000
Coie, Perkins (Oregon)
VR-OH-0079-0004 | VR-OH-0079-0007
Colombo, J. Corey (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0001 | VR-OH-0079-0002 | VR-OH-0079-0004 | VR-OH-0079-0007 | VR-OH-0079-9000
Katzman, Jennifer (Illinois)
VR-OH-0079-0001 | VR-OH-0079-0002 | VR-OH-0079-0004 | VR-OH-0079-0007 | VR-OH-0079-9000
McGinnis, Mark A. (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0001 | VR-OH-0079-0002 | VR-OH-0079-0004 | VR-OH-0079-0007 | VR-OH-0079-9000
McTigue, Donald Joseph (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0001 | VR-OH-0079-0002 | VR-OH-0079-0004 | VR-OH-0079-0007 | VR-OH-0079-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Armstrong, Kristopher J (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000
Armstrong, Maria J. (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000
Carney, Stephen P. (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0006 | VR-OH-0079-0008
Coglianese, Richard N. (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0006 | VR-OH-0079-0008 | VR-OH-0079-9000
Connolly, J. Michael (District of Columbia)
VR-OH-0079-0006 | VR-OH-0079-0008
Consovoy, William S. (District of Columbia)
VR-OH-0079-0006 | VR-OH-0079-0008 | VR-OH-0079-9000
Coontz, Bridget C (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000
DeWine, Michael (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0006 | VR-OH-0079-0008
Dickerson, James M. (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000 | VR-OH-0079-9000
Hendershot, Michael J. (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-0006 | VR-OH-0079-0008
Lin, Elbert (District of Columbia)
VR-OH-0079-9000
McCarthy, Thomas R. (District of Columbia)
VR-OH-0079-0006 | VR-OH-0079-0008
Meyer, Jill Patricia (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000 | VR-OH-0079-9000
Morrissey, Brendan J. (District of Columbia)
VR-OH-0079-0006 | VR-OH-0079-0008 | VR-OH-0079-9000
Schuck, James P. (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000
Schuler, Michael J. (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000
Sferra, Anne Marie (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000
Shook, Kevin (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000 | VR-OH-0079-9000
Wheeler, Thomas E (Indiana)
VR-OH-0079-9000 | VR-OH-0079-9000
Other Lawyers Howard, Robert Jason (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000
Makhlouf, Majeed G. (Ohio)
VR-OH-0079-9000

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