Ohio Secretary of State Limits Access to Early Voting

In a bold move to force large counties to have the same hours as small counties such as Vinton County to get all those who want to vote early efficiently through the board offices.  After national criticism (including the Daily Show) when Republican counties were going to allow extended hours and weekend voting while Democratic counties were shut down from weekend voting, Husted decided to order uniform hours throughout the state.  He decided that Boards of Elections throughout the state will be open:

  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. fo rthe first three weeks of the early voting period
  • Then 8 a.m to 7 pm for the final two weeks.
  • There will be no weekend voting in Ohio which cuts out 8 additional days of potential early voting
  • The Board offices will not allow early voting the weekend before the November election unless the Obama lawsuit is successful.
  • The offices will be closed on Columbus Day and close at 6 p.m on November 2.

In Democratic Counties (Cuyahoga, Summit, Franklin and Lucas counties) the boards had split on early voting hours.  The tiebreakers is cast by the Secretary of State who happens to be Republican Jon Husted.  He is the second Secretary of State who worked to limit access to the ballot box for Ohio voters.  Republican counties had voted to allow extended voting hours including on the weekend. Most Ohioans will not have the same access to early voting that they had in 2010 and 2008. 

For many counties such as Cuyahoga County this is significant cutback in the number of hours available to vote early in Ohio.  This ruling is also expected to have an impact on African Americans who were transported by church bus to the Board of Elections on the weekend to vote.  Those who cannot get off work during the day will have to wait until the last two weeks and hope that there are not lines or vote by mail.  

UPDATE:  The Montgomery County Board proposed extended hours despite Husted's order.  The two Democrats who made the resolution refused to withdraw their motion and Husted announced that those two board members were suspended.   Dennis Liberman and Tom Richie Sr. refused to back down and felt that their Dayton area community needed extended hours.   Liberman told the Columbus Dispatch that he would not rescind his motion even if it cost him his election's board job.