Why Doesn’t Ohio Secretary Of State Jon Husted Want Equal Access For Early Voting?

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Ohio – trying not to make your vote count

This past Friday website ThinkProgress posted an article that noted that some Ohio counties had set different hours where one could vote during the state’s early voting period. The curious thing is that counties that are heavily Democratic will have shorter hours than Republican counties. When Democrats and the ACLU complained, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted refused to intervene to fix it but he did intervene to set up the inequality. Why doesn’t Jon Husted want equal access to early voting?

Starting October 1st, voters in Democrat-leaning urban centers including Cleveland, Columbus, Akron and Toledo will now only be allowed to vote between 8 am and 5 PM on weekdays, when the majority of people are at work. The board of elections in these counties, which are split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, was gridlocked over a Democratic effort to expand hours. The Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted stepped in to deny expanded hours in these counties. But Republican-heavy counties have actually expanded early voting hours on nights and weekends, when most people have time to go to the polls.

Ohio Limits Early Voting Hours In Democratic Counties, Expands In Republican Counties

Husted broke a tie in the vote for more hours in Cleveland and Toledo by voting no – no extra hours. However his office told the Columbus Dispatch:

“Democrats in the legislature had the opportunity to resolve the issue of different hours for early voting and chose not to act,” countered Matt McClellan, a spokesman for Husted, a Republican. “Secretary Husted will not respond to political hysteria; rather, he will work with local elections officials to find a thoughtful solution.”

Democrats, ACLU ask Husted for extended voting hours

So his idea of finding a thoughtful solution is to deny voters in Toledo and Cleveland an expanded opportunity to vote early enjoyed by people in Cincinnati.

You can bet if the inequality was reversed Husted would intervene to correct it.

*Update 08/16/2012*

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted gave in – sort of. He issued a mandate that all election offices must have the same early voting hours for the upcoming election. But his idea of “same early voting hours” isn’t what was wanted by the Democrats and ACLU.

Husted added extended evening hours for two weeks prior to the election but denied weekend hours.

So technically he gave in. Just like an executioner gives you your requested blindfold but it still has the area over the eyes removed.

Graphic showing early voting inequality