Secretary of State Jon Husted

The campaign of 2011 is just a few hours away from its conclusion, and there have been few reports of voters who waited till today to cast ballots experiencing problems. While elections officials in several counties did report heavy turnout for early voting, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted says that’s not necessarily an indication of a huge number of people coming to the polls in an off-year election.

A vote by Ohio's elections chief means no extra hours for early voting at the board of elections in Montgomery County.

Elections board members were tied on the question of extended early voting. The Dayton Daily News reports Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted became the tie breaker and sided with GOP board members who did not want to stretch the absentee voting into the weekend and evenings.

For this week's edition of PoliticsOhio, Emily McCord speaks with Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau's Jo Ingles who reported earlier this week that a new political action committee was being formed to help pass the bill that would ban abortions at the point a fetus’s heartbeat can be detected. But she says stricter limits on abortion are also being considered by this group, including a drive that would protect a fetus under the Ohio consitution.

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Ohio's elections chief has rejected 1,000-plus signatures submitted by Democrats trying to get a repeal issue on the state's new congressional map on next year's ballot.

Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, says the redistricting legislation laying out the new U.S. House districts contained an appropriation and took effect immediately, so it isn't subject to referendum.

Polling sites in 20 counties will get permanent upgrades to assist Ohio voters with disabilities under newly released federal grant money.

Secretary of State Jon Husted said Tuesday that about $100,000 in grants will go to county boards of elections to improve access for voters with disabilities.

The funds were made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Help America Vote Act.  Individual grant amounts range from $40 to $15,000 for improvements in 92 precincts.

The Ohio Apportionment Board has approved maps for state house and senate districts for the next decade. The lone Democrat on the board, House Minority Leader Armond Budish, says the maps are skewed to greatly favor Republicans and he says Democrats and the public were left out of the process.

"As part of what seems to be the common thread all year, the majority map was crafted under a shroud of secrecy with no public input and no input from the minority party," says Budish.

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Emily McCord speaks to Jo Ingles for this week's edition of PoliticsOhio. Secretary of State Jon Husted issued directives this week, telling local boards of elections they are not allowed to send out absentee voter request forms. This comes ahead of a newly passed election reform law that is not effective yet. But some Ohioans want to put that law up for a referendum on the ballot. Ingles reports that they're unhappy with Husted's directives, saying it suppresses the rights of voters, while Husted counters that it's only fair to keep county election rules uniform.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio's elections chief says a liberal policy group has no legal grounds for challenging his certification of a fall ballot measure that seeks to exempt the state from provisions in the federal health care overhaul.

In a response filed Tuesday to ProgressOhio's lawsuit, Secretary of State Jon Husted says it's improper for the group to challenge the signatures submitted to get the measure on the ballot. He questioned the group's contention that extra information was included on petitions.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio voters opposed to a new collective bargaining law that limits public employee unions will get to vote "no" at the ballot box this fall, following a decision Wednesday by the state Ballot Board.

 The decision followed hours of negotiation by Secretary of State Jon Husted, the board's Republican chairman. It echoes years of Ohio ballot tradition, but also counts as a victory for the law's opponents. Voters against or confused by an issue tend to vote against it.

The group that wants to put the recently passed elections reform law on the statewide ballot will make another attempt to get petition language certified.

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