Toward the end of last week, websites began to make the misleading claim that the Obama campaign was suing the state of Ohio to restrict military voting, when the lawsuit actually sought to permit all Ohio voters to vote the weekend before elections, as military voters can do. On Saturday, GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney issued a statement that accused Obama of trying to undermine the rights of military voters.
"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," Romney's statement said.
In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod disputed the way that Romney and others were characterizing the lawsuit.
"What that lawsuit calls for is not to deprive the military of the right to vote on the final weekend ," Axelrod told host Chris Wallace. "Of course, they should have that right. That suit is about whether the rest of Ohio should have the same right. And I think it's shameful that Governor Romney would hide behind our servicemen and women to try and win a lawsuit to deprive other Ohioans. . . of the right to vote."
Democrats lined up their own military members to protest how some were describing the lawsuit.
Former Democratic congressman John Boccieri of Alliance, a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, issued a statement that accused Republicans of distortion.
"This is about restoring equal and fair access to early voting and in no way asks for restrictions to voting," Boccieri said. "Anything said otherwise is completely false. Period. And as a member of the American Legion and a lifetime member of the AMVETS, I find these claims outrageous."
Indeed, Obama's lawsuit clearly states that it seeks to permit all Ohioans - not just members of the U.S. military - to vote during the three days before the election, as was the case in 2008. The suit in no way suggests restricting early voting by members of the military.
It is simply dishonest for Romney and his backers to claim that Obama's effort to extend early voting privileges to everyone in Ohio constitutes an attack on military voters' ability to cast ballots on the weekend before elections.
We rate the claim False.