Making good on a promise, the leader of Ohio’s largest county is taking legal action to counteract the state legislature’s new restrictions on early voting. And since the Cuyahoga County executive, Ed FitzGerald, is also a candidate for governor, that means he could be matched in a court challenge against current Gov. John Kasich. FitzGerald rolled out a series of actions during a press conference this morning outside the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. Last Friday, Kasich signed Senate Bill 238, which eliminates “Golden Week” – when Ohioans could register and vote on the same day – by shortening early voting by a week. He also signed Senate Bill 205, which makes legislative approval a requirement before the secretary of state can mail out absentee-ballot applications statewide, and forbids counties from doing so on their own.
Tuesday, Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a directive setting early voting hours for the general election from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the final two Saturdays before the Nov. 4 election. That means there will be no in-person, early voting in the evenings, on Sundays or on the final two days before Election Day. Both Kasich and Husted are Republicans, although the hours were the ones recommended by the bipartisan Ohio Association of Elections Officials.