5 Things To Know About Early Voting In Ohio< < Back to
Early voting in Ohio will begin Tuesday, following a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court last week. But the debate over when and how people can vote in the key swing state has been ongoing. Here are five things to know about early voting in Ohio.
Ohioans can vote early without giving a reason
The state established early voting largely in response to long lines, wait times and other issues during the 2004 presidential election. Residents can cast an absentee ballot by mail or in person after the close of voter registration. This year, voting begins 28 days before the Nov. 4 election.
Two election-related measures sparked a lawsuit
The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a bill in February trimming the early voting period, which had been 35 days. The law eliminates so-called golden week, when people could both register to vote and cast a ballot. Also in February, Secretary of State Jon Husted set statewide early voting times that restricted weekend and evening hours. Both measures prompted the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio to sue in May on behalf of the state's NAACP chapter and others.
Court rulings shifted the start date of early voting this fall
On Sept. 4, a U.S. District judge granted a request from the NAACP to temporarily block the GOP-backed election measures. His ruling moved the start of early voting to Sept. 30. He also ordered Husted to set additional times that included evening hours. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision. But then a divided U.S. Supreme Court last week granted a request from state officials to delay it, returning the start of early voting to Tuesday. Husted then scrapped the additional times.
Ohio has had other early voting disputes
In 2012, President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and Democrats sued over a state law that cut off in-person early voting for most residents on the Friday evening before a Tuesday election. It allowed an exception for military and overseas voters to cast a ballot in person until Monday. This summer, a federal judge sided with the Democrats and ordered Husted to set early voting hours on the final three days before Election Day.
The state's elections chief wants voting times put into law
Husted has said his voting schedule reflects a proposal from the bipartisan Ohio Association of Election Officials. He has pressed state lawmakers for more than three years to place the hours and days for early voting into law, but the Legislature has not adopted any plan.