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· September 13, 2012

Ohio’s Early Voting Timeline – Access Moving in the Wrong Direction Under Husted

Ohio voters have won a key victory in the battle to restore certain early voting opportunities in Ohio. On Wednesday, a federal judge denied Secretary of State Jon Husted’s request for a stay of the Judge’s order to allow counties to set voting times for the final three days before the election. This paves the way for counties to open up the door on Saturday through Monday, November 3-5. In-person voting on the final weekend of the election has proven a very popular option for Ohio voters. In fact, according to Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates, in 2008, 102,243 Ohioans voted in-person on the final three days before the election. Yesterday’s announcement is a significant step in the right direction.

What the ruling does not do is to force Husted to restore voting in the evenings and on the other four weekends of the early voting period — popular voting times for working people that Husted eliminated with an August directive. Some 94,749 Ohioans cast ballots on those evenings and weekends in 2008 (see chart), according to research done by Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates. Those voters will have to make other plans for the 2012 election.

While the effort to reinstate in-person voting on the final weekend is important, it is clear that it is only part of the solution. Without further changes, the days and times over 100,000 voters chose to cast ballots in 2008 will continue to be off limits in 2012.

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