An editorial in the Toledo Blade has highlighted the role of Fox News in helping Mitt Romney mischaracterize an effort by the Obama campaign to restore early voting to all Ohio voters.
Fox has distorted the efforts of the Obama campaign effort to extend early voting in Ohio, with anchor Bill Hemmer saying the lawsuit aims to "limit military voters' early voting time" and reporter Shannon Bream saying the purpose of the suit is "to keep members of the military from having extra time to cast their ballots." The Romney campaign has also pushed the distortion.
The editorial, titled "Campaign distortion," argued that the notion of any politician attempting to curtail the voting rights of the military is "absurd," and accused the Romney campaign "and his friends at Fox News" of "peddling that canard" in an attempt to sway Ohio voters. From the editorial:
The notion that President Obama -- or any other rational politician -- would seek to curtail the right to vote of servicemen and women is absurd. Yet Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is peddling that canard in an attempt to win votes in this critical battleground state. Ohio voters surely are too savvy to fall for such nonsense.
The Obama campaign sued Ohio to keep the early-voting ban from taking effect. The lawsuit says it's unconstitutional to extend voting opportunities for one class of voters -- the military -- but not others. According to the suit, the purpose of legal action is "to restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day," military and nonmilitary alike.
But that didn't stop Mr. Romney -- and his friends at Fox News -- from claiming that the suit was intended to disfranchise the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who defend the liberties -- such as voting -- that other Americans enjoy. The nonpartisan fact-checking organization Politifact rated that claim "false."
After the election in 2004, it was discovered that thousands of voters had been effectively disenfranchised due to long lines and faulty machinery, necessitating the expansion of early voting in the state. More than 1.7 million Ohioans voted early in the 2008 presidential election. Ohio however has ended early voting the weekend prior to Election Day to all except members of the military and their families and voters overseas. The Obama campaign initiated a lawsuit to restore early voting to all Ohioans.