Ohioans have opportunities to vote

Published 9:43 am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has struck a fair compromise by standardizing early-voting hours throughout the state.

According to Husted’s directive, issued Wednesday, all 88 counties must provide a place for early, in-person voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the first three weeks of the five-week early-voting period, and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the final two weeks. None can offer Saturday or Sunday hours.

Democrats had been protesting because in many large, urban counties, which tend to lean Democratic, boards of election were deadlocked over extended hours for in-person early voting, while in smaller, more Republican-leaning counties, the bipartisan boards agreed to stay open for voters into evenings and weekends. Husted is the tie-breaking vote for the county election boards, and he had said ahead of time that he would side with keeping normal business hours.

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Democrats aren’t satisfied with Husted’s current solution, because the hours he mandated are far fewer than what was offered in many counties in 2008. Then, crowds lined up to vote on weekends, especially the final weekend before the election.

But those who are dissatisfied with this compromise take for granted that, thanks to a greatly liberalized voting law, Ohioans now have an enormous window of opportunity during which to vote.

The Columbus Dispatch