Ohio Secretary of State announces uniform early voting times
By Amanda Carey
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, on Wednesday, announced uniform early voting hours throughout the state. The announcement came as a response to mounting criticism that Ohio's uneven voting hours disenfranchises minority groups.
Under current state law, Ohio's four-member boards of election can establish their own early voting hours. If there is a tie, the secretary of state casts the deciding vote. When Husted was forced to vote in several Democratic-leaning counties, he voted to keep voting hours from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, two Republican-leaning counties in southwest Ohio voted to extend hours into the weekend. Watchdog groups, along with state Democrats, cried foul at the discrepancy in the early-voting schedule, claiming, among other things, that it favors Republican candidates.
The new early hours for the 35-day period will be Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the first three weeks, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the last two weeks. "The bottom line is the antagonists have made an issue about the fact that voters aren't being treated fairly, that they aren't being treated the same," said Husted on Wednesday. "Today we're treating voters everywhere the same."