- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Romney camp on Saturday moved quickly to cast the Obama campaign’s voting rights lawsuit in Ohio as anti-military.

The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee this week filed a lawsuit to block a new Ohio law that expands early voting rights for service members, allowing military members to vote up until the Monday before the election — three days longer than is allowed for the rest of the public.

In the lawsuit, Democrats contend it’s unfair to extend time to vote for one group without extending the privilege for all groups, but Republicans have slammed the lawsuit as anti-military.

Mitt Romney on Saturday called the Obama lawsuit an “outrage.”

“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,” the presumptive Republican candidate said on his campaign’s Facebook page.

“I stand with the 15 military groups that are defending the rights of military voters, and if I’m entrusted to be the commander-in-chief, I’ll work to protect the voting rights of our military, not undermine them,” he said.

Obama campaign officials told Fox News the lawsuit in no way tries to restrict the voting rights of military members.

“Along with the DNC and Ohio Democratic Party, this campaign filed a lawsuit to reinstate equal, early-voting rights for all Ohioans — rights the Republican-controlled legislature arbitrarily stripped away this past year,” Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, said in an email to supporters.

The National Guard Association of the United States, AMVETS (American Veterans), the Association of the U.S. Army and other organizations asked a judge late Wednesday to dismiss the Obama lawsuit.

Democrats are pushing back against voting rights measures adopted in states around the country by Republican-controlled legislatures. Democrats contend the voter ID laws and other restrictions or requirements are designed to suppress minority turnout.

There’s a lot at stake: A Romney edge among military personnel combined with a lower turnout among traditionally Democratic constituencies could be the difference in swing-state Ohio, where 18 electoral votes are at stake and the final margin is likely to be razor thin.