Ohio voters could cast early in-person ballots on three weekend days before a presidential election but would have fewer days overall to cast such votes under a recommendation this morning from the Ohio Association of Elections Officials. Elections offices also would be require to stay open later 15 days before an election, under the proposal from the group, made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Ohio has seen regular battles over when early voting can take place, sometimes leading to court rulings within days of an election. “The Ohio Association of Election Officials is as bipartisan an organization as you can find in our state,” said Karla Herron, OAEO president, in a release. “These recommendations were arrived at with bipartisan consensus and were designed with the voters and election officials in mind, not the political parties.”
The group also would eliminated “Golden Week,” when people can register to vote and cast an absentee ballot in one stop. Early voting would begin the day after voter registration closes.
In presidential election years, elections offices or voting centers would be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. two weeks before Election Day, and 8 to 7 the week before.
They would also remain open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. the two Saturdays before the election, and from 1 to 5 p.m. the Sunday before the election. There would be no Monday voting, as there was in 2008 and 2012. Last year saw early voting only on the final weekend before the November election.
“It was a struggle to arrive at a set of recommendations that were acceptable to counties of all sizes and budgets. Ohio counties are all unique and that makes this type of endeavor challenging,” said Kathy Jones, OAEO’s first vice-president, in the release. “It is likely that not a single county in this state would think that these recommendations are perfect for their jurisdiction. However, the recommendations, while not perfect, are fair to every county and every voter in the state.”