POLITICS
10/06/2014 11:12 am ET Updated Oct 06, 2014

Eric Holder Calls Ohio Voting Restrictions A 'Major Step Backward'

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video message Monday that the Ohio law that went into effect late last month regarding early voting in the state has provisions that "significantly reduce opportunities for early voting -- opportunities that had in the past been heavily used by African-American voters."

On Sept. 29, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the state to cancel the first week of early voting, including Sunday, "when African-American turnout is heaviest," according to the Los Angeles Times. Previously, residents could both register and cast a ballot on the same day during that week.

"It is a major step backward to allow these reductions to early voting to go into effect ... Early voting is about much more than making it more convenient for people to exercise their civic responsibilities. It's about preserving access and openness for every eligible voter, not just those who can afford to miss work or who can afford to pay for child care," Holder said.

Other states have faced voting restrictions before the November midterm elections. Soon after the court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act last year, Holder noted, North Carolina implemented "sweeping restrictions on voting rights" and Texas put in place a voter ID law "that the courts had previously blocked." He added that the Justice Department is challenging those laws.

Watch the full video above.

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