How can people vote early if they can't get to their polling place? The answer is they can't.

But in Hamilton County, Ohio, following a vote to move the county's Board of Elections from its current location in densely-populated downtown Cincinnati, the county's only in-person early voting site may soon become inaccessible to thousands of Hamilton County residents. As the above map makes clear, for the members of the 40 to 55 percent of households in downtown Cincinnati who don't have access to a vehicle (many of whom are below the poverty line), moving the in-person early voting site to the remote suburb of Mount Airy could be tantamount to removing their access to the ballot.

You see, early in-person voting makes casting a ballot more convenient, and therefore more accessible, especially for voters on tight schedules, who tend to come from traditionally-underrepresented groups. In addition to extending the vote to the overextended, early in-person voting shortens Election Day lines, and reduces the administrative toll on poll workers and electors alike, thereby reducing the potential for mistakes. In fact, increased access to early-in person voting was one of the key recommendations of the bipartisan Presidential Commission of Election Administration (PCEA) report released last month. The PCEA was established last year, partially in response to complaints about long lines on Election Day in 2012. What makes early in-person voting such an important tool to increasing voter accessibility is that it's convenient; it is precisely this aspect that the proposed move most threatens.

In its current location, Hamilton County's early in-person voting site is within five miles of 59 percent of Cincinnati residents, and is easily accessible by public transportation. This site is also accessible to residents throughout the county, as over 80 percent of households in and around Mount Airy have access to a car. By contrast, the Mount Airy site is convenient to only 29 percent of Cincinnati's residents, and is a staggering 1.5 hour bus ride from downtown Cincinnati. This means that, for many downtown residents, early in-person voting comes at the cost of three-hour round trip bus ride.

State and municipal authorities have voiced their opposition to moving the early in-person voting site. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranely is so convinced that moving the county's early in-person voting site away from downtown will have a negative impact on downtown voters that he agreed to let the Board of Elections use a downtown Cincinnati building in lieu of a move. Secretary of State John Husted agreed that it would be the most "logical" decision to keep early in-person voting in downtown Cincinnati. We hope that the Hamilton County BOE applies Secretary of State Husted's logic and works to keep Hamilton County's in-person early voting convenient and accessible.

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Vicki B.

Well I LIVE in that city, so I KNOW what's wrong with it. For ONE thing, almost NObody who's black ever goes into that neighborhood. It would be like putting something for WHITE people in the middle of Over-the-Rhine or the West End, where just walking in without moving in groups of at least 30 people will get you mugged, raped or worse.

John Kasich's another bloated, poisonous, fat ugly WORM who isn't going to win the election if he put the voting area inside the governor's MANSION.
I'm more Republican than liberal and I didn't even vote for him when I was FULL-time Republican.
When I said I'd probably never vote for another Republican president or governor after Bush Junior I wasn't kidding.

If they never admit they did something both stupid and abysmally wrong, I'll never do them the favor of ever voting for them again.
ESPECIALLY now that I have court documented evidence or at least official RECORDS that prove this shit with the torture really happened - and ruined my chance of ever seeing any justice done for the "people" who actually WERE guilty of planning Sep-11, which killed my daughter's dad and my former husband.
I'll also run my mouth all over the world about it. My daughter's dad used to tell people to beware of saying certain things to me b/c "she's got a mouth and she knows how to use it."
I DON'T usually "use it," but I will for as long as they never take responsibility for their actions, the way they accuse every NON-Republican of not doing.

Vicki B.

They didn't include ME in that vote, and I've been a resident of Hamilton County for more than 20 YEARS now. John Kasich's just a fool who thinks he's a prince.
And I don't know why they always think people ABOVE the poverty line are going to vote for them. I know a guy who used to be a Hedge Funds Manager who told me he's "never voted for a Republican politican."
He's not the only one and he's right when he said "people will get sick of their bullshit sooner than later, they're not going to put up with it for eternity."


ACLU: We need to start a petition for making Election Day a public holiday. Over 50 democratic nations in the world hold their elections on weekends in order to promote greater access, and yet our voting day is Tuesday?!?!? Why can't we demonstrate our love of democracy through a National Voting Day?

This article in the NYT today infuriated me, and made me research voting practices in other countries. I am looking to you to get this started. In fact, I can't believe we haven't yet had this conversation as a nation.

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