Early voter registration becomes even more important as Republicans continue to limit voting opportunities for Black residents.
As the 2016 presidential election season enters its crucial final months, a federal appeals court in Ohio has ruled in favor of removing a voting provision that is expected to have a disproportionately negative effect on Black voters in the state.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday to uphold Republican-backed legislation that has successfully eliminated early voting days in Ohio over the last few years. As a result, the time period known as "The Golden Week," which allows residents to register and vote on the same day, will not be in effect for the upcoming presidential election this November.
The early voting provision has been largely used by African-American voters in the past, which leads many to conclude that removal of the provision intentionally aims to reduce the number of Black voters at the polls.
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Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch, who was appointed by President Obama in 2010, voiced her adamant disapproval of ruling, noting that the early voting cut "imposes a disproportionate burden on African-Americans" and is "linked to social and historical conditions of discrimination that diminish the ability of African-Americans to participate in the political process,” according to Think Progress.
To support her position, Stranch referenced evidence presented to the lower court that linked the early voting cut to the elimination of an opportunity for African-Americans to participate in the voting process more so than other voters.
Ohio is one of several key states that have remained embattled over questionable voting policies that arguably aim to keep African-American residents away from the polls.