The campaign of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama for trying to block early voting by members of the military. Closer examination, however, showed that the attack was an outright lie.
The Obama campaign joined a lawsuit against Ohio’s new election law, which curtails early voting except for members of the military. The Romney campaign accused Obama of trying to limit the voting rights of members of the military.
“President Obama’s lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period is an outrage,” said Romney in a statement posted to Facebook. “The brave men and women of our military make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms, and we should do everything we can to protect their fundamental right to vote.”
Contrary to what Romney says, the lawsuit does not seek to limit early voting for members of the military. Instead, it seeks to extend early voting for all voters, including members of the military.
Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey summed up the aims of the Obama campaign’s suit:
So no, they aren’t trying to block military members from getting to the polls, but arguing that since the polls will be open anyway, everyone else should have access to them as well. A couple of commenters think this will be a “logistical nightmare,” but the logistics aren’t really that scaleable. Having the polls open for a few would be the same as having them open for many. There may need to be few more election judges, but those positions are voluntary anyway.
The Obama campaign shot back at Romney, saying he was “completely fabricating” the claim.
“Mitt Romney and his campaign have completely fabricated a claim that the Obama campaign is trying to restrict military voting in Ohio,” said Obama campaign veterans and military families director Rob Diamond. “In fact, the opposite is true: the Obama campaign filed a lawsuit to make sure every Ohioan, including military members and their families, has early voting rights over the last weekend prior to the election.”
Diamond noted that in 2008, 93,000 Ohio voters utilized early voting options, and criticized the Republican-led Ohio legislature’s decision to reduce it.
“In complete disregard of the will of Ohio voters expressed last year through the referendum process, the Republican legislature is attempting to remove from the vast majority of voters — including veterans of our armed services — the early voting rights they enjoyed in 2008,” Diamond said. “This latest Republican attack on rights of voters is shameful — and so is Mitt Romney’s endorsement of it.”
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