Democrats in the Ohio Senate on Tuesday called for a minimum number of early voting hours in the swing state, along with the flexibility for local elections boards to make their own schedules. The proposed legislation follows a federal court ruling last week in a dispute over two measures limiting early voting. One measure, a directive from Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, established uniform early voting times and restricted weekend and evening hours. The other is a GOP-backed law that eliminates so-called golden week, when people could both register to vote and cast ballots. Without them, early voting would typically start 28 or 29 days before Election Day instead of the prior 35-day window.
U.S. District Judge Peter Economus temporarily blocked both measures Thursday and ordered Husted to set expanded voting times ahead of November’s election. The judge also barred Husted from preventing local elections boards from adopting additional early voting hours beyond his order.
Under the decision, early voting would begin Sept. 30 instead of Oct. 7. The state is appealing the ruling.