Ruling by Federal Judge to Restore Early Voting Weekend Before Election Day Should be Expanded
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DAYTON – The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio renewed its call on Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to restore early in-person voting for all registered voters during every weekend while early voting is allowed. The ACLU’s request comes after Judge Peter C. Economus of the Federal District Court of Southern Ohio ruled that the state must restore early voting for all citizens on the weekend before Election Day.
“The Court’s decision is another step forward in guaranteeing Ohioans have fair and free access to early voting,” said Mike Brickner, director of communications and public policy. “Secretary Husted should now ensure that Boards of Elections are open weekends throughout the early voting period in order to provide the greatest level of flexibility and accessibility to all voters.”
Previously, Secretary Husted issued a directive setting uniform 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. early voting hours on weekdays in the two weeks before the November 2012 election, but failed to include any weekend voting. He issued the directive after voting rights advocates expressed concerns that individual boards of elections were setting different early in-person voting hours, and that this could lead to a return of long lines and confusion that marred the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections.
“Election officials are charged with serving voters, and I can think of no greater service than expanding early voting opportunities for every Ohioan,” said Brickner. “Providing expanded hours will give voters more options to decide when they wish to cast their ballot, help those voters with pressing schedules or other special needs, and will ease the influx of voters on Election Day.”
“While politicians have disagreed about many things with early voting, one issue everyone should recognize is that it is extremely popular with voters,” Brickner added. “In the six years since no-fault absentee voting was enacted in Ohio, early voting has become more popular and is quickly becoming the future of elections. The sooner politicians embrace the future, the sooner the people will reap the rewards.”