David Axelrod, senior campaign adviser to President Barack Obama, forcefully hit back Sunday against accusations that the president's re-election team was trying to curb early voting rights for Ohio military voters and those residing overseas.
Mitt Romney's campaign said Saturday that a lawsuit filed by Team Obama against Ohio's secretary of state targets military voters by saying "it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state's early voting period."
"At least 20 times in their legal papers, they argue that there is no good reason to give special flexibility to military voters -- and that this policy adopted by the Ohio legislature is so wrong it is unconstitutional," Katie Biber, general counsel for the Romney campaign, said in a statement.
Axelrod said the Romney argument distorts the facts. In Ohio, recent election reforms in the GOP-controlled legislature eliminated the three-day window running up to Election Day - Saturday, Sunday and Monday - from the early voting calendar. Those living overseas and members of the military, however, are still allowed to take advantage of those three days and cast their absentee ballots.
The lawsuit, filed in mid-July, calls on the state to return the three-day voting weekend for all Ohio voters, not just members of the military.
Axelrod said Romney's campaign has misconstrued the lawsuit in a way that is "completely false and misleading."
"What that lawsuit calls for is not to deprive the military of the right to vote in the final weekend of the campaign. Of course they should have that right. What that 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," Axelrod said on "Fox News Sunday."
Obama's campaign has also accused Ohio's state government of "partisan" attempts to restrict voting.
According to CNN national exit polling data, those who had served in the military voted 54% for Sen. John McCain and 44% for Obama in the 2008 election.
In an interview with CNN last month, Secretary of State Jon Husted chided the idea that the new law was politically motivated and said the three days were needed to help state workers prepare for Election Day.