Early Voting Begins Tuesday, But It’s Still Unclear Which Rules Apply

Posted on:

< < Back to

The state is asking a federal appeals court to once again consider a lawsuit over early voting laws.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted is appealing the ruling that requires the state to go back to the early, in person voting opportunities it had back in 2010.  And that means Ohio will have to offer more evening and weekend hours.

“Well we are going to continue to fight to preserve Ohioan’s right to make Ohio election law,” he said.  “We feel that principle is very important.”

Husted said there are plenty of opportunities for Ohioans to vote early, noting that surrounding states have far fewer voting options.

“We have very lenient schedules for voting in this state so that no matter what the court says you will still have basically a month to vote, 24 hours a day, seven days a week without ever leaving home,” Husted said.

Husted says more than 450,000 Ohioans have already requested mail in ballots.  But Mike Brickner with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, the group that brought the case against the state in the first place, says mail in ballots and the limited in person early voting opportunities that were on the book do not work for some people, especially very low income Ohioans.  And that’s why he says the organization is fighting for expanded voting opportunities that have been wiped out like the Golden week for example.

“People who don’t have permanent addresses like homeless voters, being able to both update their registration and cast that ballot at the same time is so important,” Brickner said.

Brickner is concerned about the state appealing this federal ruling because he says it takes valuable time away from being able to prepare for the early voting.

“We think now is the time for the state to publicize and educate voters on these opportunities so that voters who need to use Golden Week are fully informed about their rights and we should move forward with the election and let everyone have their chance to vote,” he said.

A three judge panel had upheld an earlier ruling against the new early voting laws. Husted wants the full federal court to consider the case, but there’s no timetable on when that might happen, if it does. And at this point, there isn’t a stay on the court mandated expanded weekend and evening voting hours.  Golden week begins Tuesday.