OH Secretary of State Announces Uniform Early-Voting Policy
On Wednesday Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that all Ohio districts will follow a uniform early-voting policy. Husted's announcement comes after intense media attention and public scrutiny over what a New York Times Op-Ed called "overt discrimination" in Ohio's early-voting restrictions.
Earlier this week, we reported that early voting stations in Ohio's Democratic-leaning counties would be restricted this election season, while its Republican-leaning counties would have expanded early voting hours. When Republican election commissioners blocked Democrat's efforts to expand early-voting times, Husted, a Republican, stepped in to break the tie, deciding in favor of restricting times in these counties, and allowing Republican-leaning counties to expand their hours to nights and weekends.
The New York Times blasted Ohio lawmakers in their Op-Ed, saying: "This is just the latest alarming example of how Republicans across the country are trying to manipulate the electoral system by blocking the voting rights of their opponents. These actions have a disproportionate effect on blacks, Hispanics and other ethnic minorities who struggled for so long to participate in American democracy. [...] In Ohio, as in other states, the Republican Party is establishing a reputation for putting short-term political gain ahead of the most fundamental democratic rights."
The uniform policy announced by Husted on Wednesday will extend early-voting hours to 7 p.m. on weekdays in the two weeks before the election; however, there will be no early voting in the final three days before Election Day.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 8/13/12; New York Times 8/14/12 [Update 8/15/12]; Think Progress 8/15/12
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .