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Politics




Ohio Democrats: Numbers show uniform voting isn't fair voting
Democrats continue to battle Republican limits on weekend early voting
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE
This story is part of a special series.


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 

Ohio Democrats and voting rights advocates continue to challenge Secretary of State Jon Husted’s contention that uniform voting hours in Ohio are uniformly fair. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the ongoing battle over early voting:

SCHULTZE on the battle over early voting

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Jon Husted thought he had settled a massive dispute last week over decisions that would have given Republican areas of the state longer early-voting hours than Democratic areas.

He ordered that all county boards of elections be open the same hours in the five weeks leading up to the election – and that none of those hours could be on weekends.

But Democrats argue his decision gave fellow Republicans cover, and boosted the chances of presidential candidate Mitt Romney. That’s because Democratic voters are more likely to vote on weekends.

And Ohio House Minority Leader Armond Budish released data today to argue that treating small rural counties the same as large urban counties is not equal treatment of voters at all.

 

The data shows that the state’s largest Democratic county, Cuyahoga, had more than 50,000 people show up to vote in-person and early in 2008 – when polling hours included weekends. Republican areas such as Paulding County had just  about 1,000 early voters. The data also shows – even with more early voting hours four years ago, people  had to wait one to six hours to votes in four large counties, while smaller county voters had virtually no wait times.

Ohio Rep. Kathleen Clyde of Kent also says many counties have cut back on the number of precincts they’ll have open on election day because so many voters were taking advantage of early voting.

Husted says his directive expanded early in-person voting by 230 hours beyond usual office hours, and that the state is now mailing absentee ballots to all voters statewide – an option that wasn’t used four years ago.

 


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