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Political Notebook

Ohio to appeal ruling on early voting

President Obama was on the stump Tuesday at Ohio State University.CAROLYN KASTER/ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s election chief said Tuesday that he will appeal a ruling by a federal court that reinstates the final three early voting days in the battleground state. Secretary of State Jon Husted is asking the US Supreme Court to decide whether the state Legislature or federal courts should set Ohio election laws.

Husted called Friday’s decision by the Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals ‘‘an unprecedented intrusion’’ into how states run elections. The court returned discretion to set hours on the final three days to local boards of elections.

‘‘As a swing state, we in Ohio expect to be held to a high standard and level of scrutiny when it comes to elections,’’ Husted, a Republican, said in a statement. ‘‘However, it’s troubling that the federal courts have failed to recognize that there isn’t another state in the union which can claim Ohio’s broad menu of voting options and opportunity to vote.’’

President Obama’s campaign and Democrats had sued Husted and Ohio’s attorney general over a law cutting off early voting for most residents on the Friday night before a Tuesday election. The law makes an exception for military personnel and Ohio voters living overseas.


Husted’s challenge came on a day when Obama was campaigning in the state, timing a rally at the Ohio State University campus to the final day of voter registration in the state.

The Sixth Circuit decision affirmed a lower court ruling from August. District Judge Peter Economus said he expected Husted to direct all county elections boards to maintain a specific, consistent schedule on the three final days before Election Day.

Democrats had argued that everyone should have the chance to vote on those three days before the election.

Democrats estimated in their lawsuit that 93,000 people voted during the final three-day window before the 2008 election. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Associated Press After criticism, Welch declines to write for Fortune

NEW YORK -- Even corporate titans have feelings too.

Jack Welch, the former chief executive of General Electric, said Tuesday that he would no longer write for Fortune magazine, after Fortune produced coverage that was critical of his comments last Friday about the Department of Labor’s monthly jobs report.

The report showed the unemployment rate dipping below 8 percent for the first time since January 2009, and Welch suggested on Twitter that the Obama administration had manipulated the numbers to help the president’s reelection campaign.

“Unbelievable jobs numbers. these Chicago guys will do anything. can’t debate so change numbers,’’ Welch’s post read.

Those comments managed to gain some traction on the Web among some conservatives.

But they also came under widespread attack and even ridicule from economists and the financial media, some of whom argued that the comments were just plain wrong.

The critics included Fortune; its managing editor, Andy Serwer; and CNN Money, which shares content with Fortune.com.

In an e-mail that Welch sent to Serwer, as well as Stephen J. Adler, editor-in-chief of Reuters News, and that Fortune posted on its website, Welch said he and his wife, Suzy, would no longer contribute to Fortune or Reuters, which had also reported on the Welch post.

He said that on Wednesday he would have an article in The Wall Street Journal instead. — NEW YORK TIMES

Romney sees no abortion legislation

DES MOINES — Wading into an explosive social issue, Republican Mitt Romney said Tuesday that he would not pursue any abortion-related legislation if elected president.


‘‘There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,’’ he told the Des Moines Register in an interview posted on the newspaper’s website.

Romney said he would use an executive order to reinstate the so-called Mexico City policy that bans American aid from funding abortions. President Obama waived the order soon after taking office.

The Romney campaign sought to walk back the comments soon after they were posted on the Register’s website. ‘‘Gov. Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life,’’ spokeswoman Andrea Saul said, declining to elaborate.

Romney supported abortion rights when he first became Massachusetts governor, but he changed his position while in office.

Facing skeptical conservatives in the Republican presidential primary, Romney regularly discussed his opposition to gay marriage, abortion, and illegal immigration. Once he claimed the Republican presidential nomination, however, he focused almost exclusively on economic issues and has pushed a more moderate tone as Election Day nears.

As both campaigns court female voters, Obama’s campaign has featured Romney’s opposition to abortion in television ads running in several swing states.

The president’s campaign pounced on Tuesday’s apparent shift, issuing a statement that ‘‘within just a couple hours of the story with Romney’s abortion comments posting, his spokesperson clarified that he would in fact support legislation to restrict a woman’s right to choose.’’

‘‘We know the truth about where he stands on a woman’s right to choose: He’s said he’d be delighted to sign a bill banning all abortions, and called Roe v. Wade ‘one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history,’ and pledging to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn it. Women simply can’t trust him,” Obama spokeswomen Liz Smith said.


As recently as January, Romney said the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion across the nation. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

N.H. high court blocks new voter law

CONCORD, N.H. — In a 3-2 decision, New Hampshire’s Supreme Court has sided with a lower court judge and left a new voter registration law on hold.

The high court said the state did not prove the lower court erred in leaving the old law in effect pending resolution of the case. The ruling clears the way for out-of-state college students to continue to vote in New Hampshire.

Students traditionally have been allowed to declare the state their home without holding legal residency, which involves an intent to stay for an extended period of time.

But under a law passed this year, new voters would have been required to sign a statement saying they declare New Hampshire their home and are subject to laws that apply to all residents. — ASSOCIATED PRESS