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Ohio Voting Loophole Could Help Obama

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An odd loophole in Ohio voting laws will allow residents of that state to register to vote and then immediately cast a ballot during the week of Sept 30th to October 6th. This week of immediate registration and voting is expected to be very popular with younger voters and the Barack Obama campaign is gearing up for a major push to capture that core constituency.

Ohio is still working out the kinks but, most likely, those who register in that week will receive absentee ballots which they can cast immediately or later. The votes will be counted after polls close on election day.

As you might expect, Republicans are crying foul, complaining that the loophole creates the opportunity for massive voter fraud and pointing out that the voting window is being implemented in only some counties, typically urban ones with college campuses. Republicans are considering a lawsuit.

Now, I’m sure if Ohio had accidentally created a loophole that could increase the votes cast by old white veterans, Republicans would not have a problem. Their main complaint seems to be that Obama will get more votes, not that the window is inherently unfair. Voter fraud is a possibility with any system and as long as Ohio manages this vote using the same rules that apply to all other absentee voting, I don’t see where it’s a problem.

However, shouldn’t the voting window be available in all counties? I suspect it isn’t scheduled to be because more rural counties lack the voting infrastructure to handle the window, but that really shouldn’t be an excuse. You can’t offer voting to one part of a state and not another without being subject to claims of disenfranchising voters. I suspect, if Republican sue, Ohio will have to correct that discrepancy. But, otherwise, it seems like Obama is going to get a nice little boost from this odd loophole.