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Government and Politics


Ohio election battles are inching toward resolution
Husted sets uniform early voting hours, but voting the weekend before the election is still under scrutiny
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JO INGLES


Reporter
Jo Ingles
 
Jon Husted announces uniform voting hours to quell one of Ohio's early voting disputes.
Courtesy of Jo Ingles
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In The Region:
It’s been a day for arguing over elections in Ohio. The fight over whether all Ohioans should have the opportunity to vote in person at boards of elections the weekend before Election Day has had its day in court. And as Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, Secretary of State Husted is taking matters into his own hands to settle a fight over another matter.
Election battles inching toward resolution

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In 2008, 93,000 Ohioans voted in person at county boards of elections on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the election. But this year, that won’t be an option, unless a court rules otherwise.

President Obama’s campaign, along with state and national Democratic parties, is suing to have the three-day window restored after the Republican-led Legislature passed a new law forbiding boards from holding early, in-person voting. Only active duty military members and people living overseas are now allowed to vote on those three days. And Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern says that’s not right.

"There was an intent by the Republicans in the Legislature to carve out and limit voters in those final three days. We would like every voter to have the chance to access the polls. It’s as simple as that."

Dems say GOP wants to keep out their vote
Redfern fears that without this window, some Ohio voters who have trouble making it to the polls during regular business hours will find themselves disenfranchised, just like some did in 2004.

"We estimate, based on voter behavior and information we collected after the 2004 cycle that 15,000 Franklin County voters left the line and didn’t vote on election day 2004 because the lines were so long."

GOP: More chances than ever
But Republicans argue voters still have opportunities to vote that didn’t exist in 2004. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted says there’s no reason to have that three day window.
"It is easy to vote in Ohio, every single voter will have the opportunity to vote from the comfort of their own homes. We have expansive voting hours. Border states like Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania don’t have early voting at all."

When asked why active duty military voters should be given the opportunity to vote in that three-day period when ordinary Ohioans cannot, Husted says it’s federal law.

"Federal law requires us to treat military voters differently. As a matter of fact, it says we have to allow them to receive their ballots 45 days in advance, that they can receive those ballots electronically, that they don’t need a postmark to return their ballots by mail. There are all kinds of exceptions that we make and should make for military voters that we would like to keep in place."

The federal judge who heard this case says he needs to take more time to consider it before ruling.

Husted makes another critical change
But in another matter, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is telling local boards of elections they must have the same hours for voting in the days leading up to Election Day. He says, in the last two weeks before Election day, boards of elections will be open from 8 to 7 with the exception of the Friday before when they will close at 6. On October 9th, the boards will be open until 9 and they will be closed on Columbus Day. Husted says this decision is fair.

"The best decision in this case was one of fairness – treating people equally. It’s a principle I do agree with. We have done that with absentee ballots. We are now doing it with hours of operation. Again, you may not like the hours of operation. You may think they are too long. You may think they are too short but they are fair for everybody."

Husted's decision means no county board of elections will be allowed to be open for in-person voting during all leading up to the electionelection.

He hopes this will put to rest the controversy created when some Republican boards of elections decided to have late night and weekend hours but some Democratic counties were not able to do the same thing. In the cases of the democratic counties, Husted was forced to step in to break tie votes because the local boards, comprised of two democrats and two republicans, had deadlocked on the issue. The Ohio Democratic Party says boards of elections should be open on the final weekend and have generous off hours for voting because those are the times that work best for some voters. Paul Worley, a veteran from Peebles who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, agrees.

"I would love a lot more decision makers, lawyers, and people to understand that we ought to make voting so much easier for people. We ought to be doing anything and everything we can to get them to the polls to exercise their right to vote because that’s our most precious freedom. And I fought for it and I would die for it still."

Related WKSU Stories

Husted sets uniform early voting hours
Thursday, August 16, 2012

Husted sets uniform early voting hours
Thursday, August 16, 2012

Some Republican-leaning counties have more voting hours
Monday, August 13, 2012

Listener Comments:

DEAR WKSU: I THINK WKSU SHOULD DELVE INTO THE MATTER OF WHETHER OR NOT THE MARCH 6, 2012 OHIO CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARY WAS FRAUDULENT? OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE, JON HUSTED, RECOMMENDED THAT CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES FILE THEIR NOMINATING PETITIONS ON OR BEFORE THE 12-7-11 FILING DEADLINE. THEN, BECAUSE NO DEAL ON A SINGLE PRIMARY WAS REACHED BY THE OHIO LEGISLATURE BY THE SAME 12-7-11 DEADLINE MR. HUSTED 'VOIDED' THE PETITIONS OF CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES AND SET 12-30-11 AS THE NEW FILING DEADLINE. APPARENTLY, A NEW 1-20-12 LAW WAS WAITING IN THE WINGS TO BE APPLIED SHOULD NO DEAL BE REACHED BY THE OHIO LEGISLATURE BY 12-7-11. HOWEVER, FRAUD IS DEFINED AS 'INTENTIONAL PERVERSION OF TRUTH IN ORDER TO INDUCE ANOTHER TO PART WITH SOMETHING OF VALUE.' IF MR. HUSTED RECOMMENDS THAT CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES 'NOT' FILE ON OR BEFORE 12-7-11, AND IF NO DEAL IS REACHED BY THE OHIO LEGISLATURE AS WAS THE CASE, THEN THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO ONE FILING TO RUN FOR CONGRESS. THEREFORE, MR. HUSTED GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT A DEAL WILL BE REACHED, (THEREBY 'PERVERTING THE TRUTH') AND 'INDUCES' CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES TO PART WITH SOMETHING OF VALUE, NAMELY THEIR PETITIONS! MR. HUSTED CANNOT 'VOID' THE PETITIONS UNTIL HE HAS THE PETITIONS AND HOW DOES HE GET THE PETITIONS? BY RECOMMENDING THAT CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES FILE ON OR BEFORE 12-7-11! PRETTY CLEVER, HUH? ONCE THE PETITIONS ARE FILED THEN MR. HUSTED IS IN POSITION TO APPLY THE 1-20-12 LAW AND 'VOID' THE PETITIONS. CONSEQUENTLY, THE WKSU 8-15-12 STORY ON EARLY VOTING IS MOOT IF THE 3-6-12 OHIO PRIMARY WAS INDEED FRAUDULENT. MR. HUSTED'S 'MISLEADING' RECOMMENDATION HAS NOW CONTAMINATED EVERY RACE IN THE 3-6-12 OHIO PRIMARY! SINCERELY, JOHN LUCHANSKY!


Posted by: JOHN LUCHANSKY (BOARDMAN TWP., OHIO) on August 16, 2012 4:08AM
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