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Government and Politics

Early voting battle coming down along party lines
Secretary of State Jon Husted’s uniform voting hours pits Democrats vs. Republicans
This story is part of a special series.

Kabir Bhatia
In The Region:
The battle over Secretary of State Jon Husted’s uniform voting hours in all of Ohio’s 88 counties is coming down along party lines. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
Early voting battle coming down along party lines

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Democrats want early, in-person weekend voting hours leading up to November's election, but those have been wiped out by Husted and the GOP-controlled state Legislature. Democratic State Rep. Alicia Reese from Cincinnati says voters in her district are outraged.

“Citizens have come up to me asking, 'As a voter, why are they making it more difficult because I work two shifts and I want to get to the board of elections to vote but I don’t want to lose my job in the process?' Why in Ohio is the vote under attack?”

Reece and other Ohio House Democrats released data from past elections showing that rural, Republican-leaning counties had no significant wait times to vote while urban, Democratic-leaning counties had wait times between one and six hours. Secretary of State Husted says the state needs uniform hours for voting.

“In previous elections, counties were allowed to establish days and hours of operation.  It was all left up to them.  But what occurred in some counties had longer hours than others.  I had always acted in a uniform hours in how I was breaking ties.  But it became apparent to me that I needed to take an additional step to expand the principle of uniformity that I’ve been working on as secretary of state.”

Husted has extended in-person early voting hours on some weeknights. And the Obama campaign is challenging a GOP-passed law that forbids early voting for most voters on the weekend immediately before the election.
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