Romney campaign calls Dem challenge to Ohio voter law ‘despicable’

Mitt Romney's campaign is mounting pressure on an Obama campaign lawsuit challenging Ohio's early voter laws, claiming it unfairly targets military personnel.

Romney's campaign released a statement Sunday afternoon from Romney General Council Katie Biber that accuses Obama of trying to limit voting rights for those in the military.

"In their lawsuit, the Obama campaign and the [Democratic National Committee] argue it is 'arbitrary' and unconstitutional to provide three extra days of early, in-person voting to military voters and their families," Biber writes. "We disagree with the basic premise that it is 'arbitrary' and unconstitutional to give three extra days of in-person early voting to military voters and their families, and believe it is a dangerous and offensive argument for President Obama and the DNC to make.  

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It is not only constitutional, but commendable that the Ohio legislature granted military voters and their families this accommodation.  It is despicable for the Obama campaign to challenge Ohio's lawful decision," she added.

Earlier this week the Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a lawsuit to block a new Ohio state law which would allow men and women in uniform to vote up until the Monday right before an election, while the cutoff on early voting for the rest of the public is three days earlier.

Democrats say they want all voters to enjoy the extended early-voting period, and not just those in the military. 

Romney’s campaign says the lawsuit unfairly targets active duty voters and the presumptive GOP nominee attacked the lawsuit in a Facebook post on Saturday, calling it an "outrage." 

But the optics may be damaging to the Obama campaign. Biber's statement highlights that a number of nonpartisan military groups intend to fight the Obama campaign on the case. 

"Last week, respected military groups intervened in the Obama campaign's lawsuit.  They argue that it is absolutely constitutional to give military voters special flexibility in voting, and that it is offensive for the Commander-in-Chief's political campaign to argue otherwise.  They correctly point out that there is good reason to grant military voters special flexibility; members of the military — including those stationed here within the United States — are subject to restrictions, uncertainties, and risks that often make it more difficult for them to vote.  We agree with these military groups."

Obama's campaign has pushed back hard against Romney's characterization of the issue, accusing him of "false and misleading" comments.

"What that lawsuit calls for is not to deprive the military of the right to vote on the final weekend of the campaign," Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said on Fox News Sunday. "Of course they should have that right. What the suit is about is whether the rest of Ohio should have the same right. And I think it's shameful that Gov. Romney would hide behind our servicemen and women to try and win a lawsuit to deprive other Ohioans of the right to vote."

Both Obama and Romney have targeted military voters, who could play a key role in many swing states including Florida, Virginia and North Carolina.