Early voting begins in Ohio following dispute
COLUMBUS (AP) — Early voting can begin today in Ohio after the U.S. Supreme Court stepped into a dispute over the schedule, pushing the start date back a week in the swing state.
Voters will pick the next governor along with other statewide officeholders on Nov. 4. Residents also will decide a number of legislative races and the outcome of more than 1,600 local issues.
Ohioans can cast an absentee ballot by mail or in person. More than 650,000 voters have already requested absentee ballots.
The start of early voting had shifted amid a lawsuit over two election-related measures.
One was a Republican-backed state law trimming the early voting period from 35 days to typically 28 days. It eliminated so-called golden week, when people could both register to vote and cast a ballot. The other measure was a directive issued by the state’s elections chief that sets uniform early voting times across the state and restricted weekend and evening hours.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio challenged the measures in a lawsuit brought in May on behalf of the state’s NAACP chapter and others.
On Sept. 4, a federal judge temporarily blocked the law from taking effect this fall. His ruling moved the start of early voting to Sept. 30 and lengthened the voting schedule.
But a ruling last week from the nation’s highest court returned the start date to Tuesday, following a request from state officials.
Democrats have used the dispute to encourage their base to cast an early ballot. All of the party’s statewide candidates planned to vote today.