ACLU & League of Women Voters Call on Hamilton County to Keep Early Voting in Downtown Cincinnati
Moving Early Voting Site to Suburbs Limits Access for Inner-City Voters
February 6, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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CINCINNATI – Today, the ACLU of Ohio and the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area (LWVCA) held a joint press conference, calling on the Hamilton County Board of Elections (BOE) to keep the county’s early voting site in downtown Cincinnati rather than moving it to the suburb of Mount Airy.
“The current early voting site is centrally located, with plenty of access for public transportation,” said ACLU of Ohio Associate Director Gary Daniels. “Moving miles away from this central hub to a suburb with very few public transit options will reduce access to the polls for many low-income inner-city residents who do not own cars and rely instead on public transportation, or their own two feet, to get to the polls.”
Hamilton County Commissioners recently acquired a former hospital in Mount Airy and have since made plans to move the regional crime lab to the new property. Other county departments are also interested in moving to the new site, including the BOE, which remains in partisan deadlock on the issue.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who casts tie-breaking votes for deadlocked BOE’s, has urged the group to come to some agreement on the issue, telling the Cincinnati Enquirer that it makes “logical” sense to keep the early voting location downtown, even if most BOE operations are eventually moved to Mount Airy.
“The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization encouraging informed and active participation in government and we do not support or oppose candidates or political parties,” said Donald Rhoad, co-president of the LWVCA. “Ensuring that all citizens have access to voting is our highest priority. For that reason, we strongly urge the Hamilton County BOE to maintain an office and an early voting site in the downtown area to enable and encourage more residents to vote in each election.”
“Even if most of the BOE’s operations move elsewhere, they should maintain an office downtown where candidates and issue groups can submit their required election filings,” he added.
“Today we are asking BOE members to rise above their political differences and act in the best interests of all Hamilton County voters,” said LWVCA Co-President Helen Rhoad. “If they look at the facts, the Board of Elections will see that downtown early voting offers the most access for the most people. We call upon the Board of Elections to assure publicly to citizens that early voting capability, as well as other relevant voter services will be maintained in the downtown area.”
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