From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Lost in the big news of the bailout failure and the subsequent plunging Dow, is a court decision in Ohio which could have big implications for the presidential race.
Republican-backed lawsuits went to the Ohio Supreme Court, and the court, by a 4-3 vote, "upheld a weeklong period in which new voters can register and cast an absentee ballot on the same day in Ohio. Another federal court decision was expected later in the day over the early voting window...." (The Ohio Supreme Court has six Republicans and one Democrat.)
Previously, voters had to be "registered for at least 30 days before receiving an absentee ballot."
This is the first presidential election in Ohio in which voters can vote absentee and early without excuse. Election officials have pushed the effort as a way to eliminate long lines and voting complications of years past. In 2004, Democrats alleged voter disenfranchisement in areas with large African-American populations, as voters waited hours and hours to vote.