Another Ohio Victory on Voter Rights

In another blow to the current Secretary of State's effort to limit voter access to the polls, the Federal Courts have made permanent the rules to keep the early voting hours open for the last three days before the November Election.  This goes back to the 2012 and the Obama for America lawsuit against the State of Ohio to provide equal access to early voting for all voters.  The State legislature tried to give access to active military to vote on the last three days before the election but not the other voters in Ohio.   This disparity in the rules was found by Judge Peter Economus to be a violation of federal law. 

This ruling will force Secretary of State Husted to set uniform hours on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday hours for early in-person voting.  This does not settle the lawsuit filed earlier this year by the ACLU and the NAACP regarding Sunday voting, evening hours and Golden Week. It also does not provide a level playing field for all voters in Ohio.  Those living in heavily populated areas of the State will have to stuff themselves into the local boards of election offices because they will have the same hours as the small counties with only a few thousand people who need to vote. We hope that this is a first step in the complete repudiation of all efforts to limit access to the ballot box in Ohio and other states. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Well, At Least We Are Not Florida...

We had long lines, but at least we were not as bad as Florida.  Ohioans had to wait for hours on the final weekend of early voting, but not anywhere near as long as Florida.  The results were not released locally until 11:05 p.m., but that is better than 11 a.m. four days after the election as they were in Florida.   We had a court fight on the day after the election, while Florida will have to settle a number of lawsuits over this election.   We have two state representatives in which the races are narrow thin margins of victory, while Florida had two federal races that were not called for four days. 

We need real election reform in the United States with a law passed or a series of laws passed or even a Constitutional amendment to make our election fair.   Our recommended changes include:

  • Elimination of the Electoral College so that the President is elected by national popular vote.
  • Elimination of gerrymandering in the creation of legislative districts by removing it from the oversight by any one political party.  There should be a law that both political parties including independents must come to a consensus on legislative districts.
  • Standards for early voting across the United States as well as military voting and vote by mail provisions.
  • There should be standards for registering people to vote including the ability to register to vote on election day.
  • There should be free national identification that can be used for people to register to vote.
  • No one should have to wait more than one half hour to vote in person, and this should be a national standard with consequences for long waits.
  • People should be taxed at a higher rate if they decide not to vote.
  • People should be allowed to vote a county wide ballot at any polling place if they do not want to cast a vote for local items or local elected officials. 
  • Voting should be done in whatever manner yields the most secure ballot with a paper backup and a way to count the ballots quickly. 
  • Money is not speech.  We need public financing of campaigns and guaranteed access by the candidates to the local and national networks.  We own the air waves, and they need to be given over to electing our leaders once a year. 

More to come



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.