Early-voting plan needs analysis

Published 11:21 pm Saturday, December 20, 2008

Leave it to politicians to try to spend hundreds of days doing nothing and then try to accomplish hundreds of things in a next to nothing time frame.

That is the message sent last week by the Ohio House of Representative when they essentially put a measure to limit early voting in the state on the fast track, in hopes that it will pass the Senate before January.

At that point, the GOP will relinquish control of both sides as the Democrats take over majority rule in the House.

Email newsletter signup

And since the measure passed the House with a vote of 54-42, you can see why lawmakers wanted to get this through.

But, the bottom line is that this issue hasn’t been analyzed or studied enough to be drastically changed by a knee-jerk reaction and politically motivated tactics.

It is obvious Republicans at least have some vested interest in getting this law changed because the voting window helped President-elect Barack Obama win the state because he did a better job of rallying voters to hit the polls.

The proposal reduces the start of in-person early voting from 35 days before Election Day to 20 days. It also eliminates a window during which voters could both register and vote on the same day, according to the Associated Press.

Right now, this proposal has too many unanswered questions.

Approximately 1.5 million people cast a ballot during the 35-day early voting period this fall. How many of those people wouldn’t have voted if this window was shrunk? Would election day lines have been longer?

On the flip side, did the large window and the same-day registration open the door to fraud and abuse of the system?

Right now, it is impossible to say for sure until all the data can be fully analyzed.

But what is certain is that changes of this magnitude shouldn’t happen overnight.