Politics
8:35 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Federal Judge: Ohio Must Reinstate Early Voting

A federal judge has ordered Ohio to reinstate early in-person voting the three days before Election Day.

Earlier this year, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted had directed the 88 county boards of elections to hold uniform voting hours -- and they did not include the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before November’s gubernatorial election. Democrats challenged that, saying it disproportionately affects their voters, who dominate early-in person voting on those days.

In a speech in Akron last week, Husted said his only concern has been uniformity.

“I believe that all votes should vote by the same set of rules. you’re Mary Smith in Summit County or Mary Smith in Portage County, there’s no reason that you should have different rules in terms of days and  hours that your vote. We should have the same set of rules. That’s what equality means.” 

And in a statement today, he said he’ll follow the decision of U.S. District Judge Peter Economus, which gives Ohio the voting uniformity it needs.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern also praised the decision.

"All along, we believed the actions of the Republican-controlled Legislature, Secretary of State Husted and Gov. Kasich were unconstitutional; and yet again, a federal judge has agreed. This ruling shows how important these last three days are to ensure equal access to the ballot, and the hours set by Secretary Husted should reflect that."

M.L. Schultze is a reporter and web editor with Ohio Public Radio member station WKSU.