Ohio’s election chief has set the hours and days that residents can vote early for the May primary election, saying it was necessary because the Legislature has failed to put uniform times into law. Voters can cast an absentee ballot early by mail or in person without giving any reason. The 2012 presidential election cycle in Ohio was marked by several disputes over early voting rules, including a lawsuit brought by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. Secretary of State Jon Husted said Wednesday that he’s repeatedly asked the General Assembly to write the hours into law, but members have not acted.
“Our priorities should be to give all voters equal access to their ballots no matter where they live, to provide adequate time to accommodate an increasingly busy electorate and to reduce the chance of long lines on Election Day,” he said during a speech at a conference of the Ohio Association of Election Officials.
Husted told the bipartisan group of local election officials that he would use their proposal for voting times for the state’s May 6 primary, in absence of legislative action.