Senate Democrats rolled out a list of legislative priorities yesterday focused on jobs, election law and healthier families. The push will include election-law changes that emphasize access to voting. Republicans are likely to craft their own set of election-law changes, and a clash is expected. Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, a potential candidate for Ohio secretary of state, said the goal will be to ensure that county election boards can “marry the needs of their constituencies in terms of voting.” She noted that Cuyahoga County had five weekends for early voting in 2008, but just one last year. “Voters had less voting opportunities in 2012,” she said. “Shaping voting times to only be during traditional work hours, that has an impact only on working-class folks.”
Turner said the bill will propose a minimum set of hours for early voting — a mix including weekend and evening hours. She also will address disputes over provisional ballots, including the type of required information and when such ballots should not be counted.
Secretary of State Jon Husted has pushed for uniform voting times across the state. “Uniformity does not necessarily mean equity,” Turner said. “They are using the buzzword uniformity as a guise to lull voters into a sense they are really looking out for them.”