Republican lawmakers want anyone who goes to court to keep polls open longer on Election Day to hand over enough cash to cover the cost. Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz is proposing a change in state law that would require a cash bond, potentially worth thousands of dollars, before a judge could order polls to stay open past the scheduled closing time. Seitz, who already has nine Republican co-sponsors for his bill, said the goal is to prevent what he considers frivolous, last-minute court challenges that keep polls open late and create additional costs for taxpayers. The law also would set a higher standard for proving the need for longer hours and would allow for the immediate appeal of any ruling that extends poll hours. “There will always be some excuse that some activist judge can seize upon,” said Seitz, of Green Township. “Is this intended to retard these last-minute interventions? Yes, it is.”
As a key swing state in presidential elections, including the one coming up this November, Ohio has seen its share of court fights over election rules.
Seitz said he was inspired to tighten those rules following last November’s election, in which Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman, a Republican, ordered polls to remain open an additional 90 minutes because of technical glitches that caused some delays on Election Day. Seitz said he also was outraged last month when U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott ordered polls to stay open another hour after receiving calls from motorists stranded on I-275 because of a serious traffic accident.
Though his proposal only would affect state courts, Seitz said he hopes all judges, including federal judges like Dlott, would consider the state law before issuing a decision.
Full Article: GOP: Require cash for longer vote hours.