Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Husted: extended hours for early voting not necessary

Ohio Secretary of State John Husted broke a tie vote from the Lucas County Board of Elections in favor of regular office hours for the early voting center. He broke a similar tie vote for Franklin County on Aug. 2nd.

His position is that ample time for voting is available within the normal business hours of the various boards of election and all voters will be getting an absentee ballot application in the mail so they can vote by mail at their own convenience if they choose.

He also says there cannot be "unequal access from one county board to another" and local budgets must be considered.

Other than the name of the county, the letters are identical:

In order to ensure uniformity across counties and reduce lines at polling places for the November 6,20 12 General Election, my office is mailing an absentee ballot application to every registered voter in Ohio in "active" status and every registered voter in Ohio who voted in the 2008 presidential election regardless of the voter status in the Statewide Voter Registration Database, See Directive 201 2-24. Because Ohio voters have the option to vote from home via absentee ballot during the more-than-750-hour period that covers the no fault absentee voting period, there is no need for extended hours for in-person absentee voting.

I cannot create unequal access from one county board to another, and I must also keep in mind the resources available to each county. The reality is that local boards are operating under tight budget constraints on a day-to-day basis under their normal business hours. There is sufficient time already available during the Lucas County Board's regular business hours for the casting of absent voters' ballots in person.

Consistent with my stated policy at the Akron regional conference on June 19th, I am setting in-person absentee voting hours to be that of the Board's regular Monday through Friday office hours. The Board is also reminded that under Ohio Revised Code 35 09.03, in-person absentee voting must be available until 6:00 p.m., Friday, November 2, 2012.

Lucas County will offer ample time to vote prior to Election Day. In addition to no fault absentee voting by mail, in-person absentee voting in Lucas County will be available approximately 40-hours-per-week for those who wish to complete in-person absentee ballots.

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